Spartan Brian Graham discusses his role as an Engineer and Businessman.
Brian serves as the VP of Global Operations at Sealink International Inc. He has extensive experience leading and directing domestic and international organizations in the area of Operations Excellence, Product Development, and Business Development. These organizations have been extremely successful in delivering new technologies to the market, delivering financial results and growing businesses in start- up, turn around and consolidation situations. His specialties include:
*International Operations – single / multisite
*Business start- up and turn around
*International Technology / Product Transfer
*Program / Project / Portfolio Management
*New Product Development & Commercialization
*Green Field Plant expansion
*Global Supplier Management & Development
*Business Process Development, Optimization, Management
*Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing
His other specialties include: EMS: Medical, Industrial and Public Safety verticals, Strategic Planning, Strategic Alliance Forming, M&A, Fund Raising, Branding and Identity, Lean Manufacturing, Value Engineering, General Management, Demand Flow Technology, SMT Manufacturing, Turn Around Management, Tampa Exchange Club, Tampa Bay Technology Forum: Emerging Company Network Board, Pinellas County TBIC Vetting Committee
Brian graduated from MSU through the Applied Engineering program, earning a B.S. in Engineering. He later attained a degree from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder and even attended a Leadership series at Harvard University in 2006. One piece of advice he offers undergraduates is to seek mentorship early and often, both while partaking in internships and while in the workforce because you never know what can come from an opportunity.
Spartan Calvin McDaniel shares his experience working in the HR field.
Calvin graduated from Michigan State University’s Master of Human Resource Management and Labor Relations program in 2013. He currently works as an HR Manager for Wayne Water Systems in Harrison, Ohio. Wayne assembles water removal systems, including basement, well, and utility pumps. He also provides HR support for a sister Berkshire Hathaway company, Powerex, that assembles medical and industrial air compressor systems. Prior to his current role, Calvin worked as an Alumni Career Advisor at Michigan State as well as an HR Manager for General Mills.
As a student, he spent two summers interning in different states- one in Wisconsin and the other in Minneapolis. He says these experiences contributed to both his professional success and helped shaped who he is today. Additionally, Calvin spent 2 weeks in South Africa studying HR and Labor Relations and the socioeconomic aspects of culture in the workplace. He spent the first week in Cape Town engaging with the local culture and the following week studying at the Nelson Mandela University. He says this experience enabled him to see a wide variety of labor relations and HR practices in another country and provided him a global perspective of the workplace. Most importantly, Calvin was able to take what he learned from his time in South Africa and put it into practice in his current role.
Calvin says he knew the HR field was for him when he first took a Diversity & Inclusion course through the Broad Business College, and later as he developed a passion for talent management because it enables him to help people maximize their skills and abilities. For those who share his passions and/or who are looking into HR, Calvin offers a couple pieces of advice. First, he says to be aware of the administrative duties required while working in the field, such as record keeping. Secondly, he emphasizes the importance of having integrity and strong value systems to guide everything you do.
Spartan Ray Bates shares his experiences within the HR field.
Ray Bates joined Croda International, a boutique chemical manufacturer, in March of 2016 and is currently a Human Resources Manager in the Philadelphia, PA metropolitan area. In his current role, he is responsible for all of the strategic and tactical HR requirements and oversees two locations in Delaware and Pennsylvania. With one location being a unionized environment, and his other site a non-union environment; Ray and his team experience a wide-ranging spectrum of challenges and opportunities on a daily basis. Ray is currently in a transitional period as he will soon be leaving Croda and has accepted an opportunity to work at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a Sr. HR Business Partner.
Prior to joining Croda, Ray was the Lead HR Business Partner for The Boeing Company at their Ridley Park, Pennsylvania location. While at Boeing, Ray began as an intern and went on to hold a variety of positions that extended from unionized manufacturing settings to international HR support in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
Prior to his career in Human Resources, Ray served in the United States Marine Corps for 11 years, and prior to that, he spent 4 years in the Army Reserves. After his career in the military, Ray went on to earn his Bachelors and a Masters Degrees from Michigan State University in Human Resource Management (Eli Broad College of Business) and Human Resources & Labor Relations (MHRLR) respectively. As an undergraduate he studied abroad at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, studying International Business and Labor Management. Ray has since then earned a Master of Business Administration, specializing in International Business, from Washington State University. He is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and holds both the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certifications.
Ray is a native of Durand, Michigan and currently lives just west of Philadelphia.
Spartan Donald Krebs shares his journey within Supply Chain Management.
Don Krebs is a Supply Chain Manager for Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine, CA. A packaging professional by education and experience, Don made a successful transition from various engineering functions to global supply chain management. Don specializes in global supplier relationship management, negotiation, and contracts. During Don’s time at Edwards, he has led and contributed to many “green” packaging initiatives and is an active promoter of lessening the environmental impact the medical device industry has on the planet.
Personally, Don is the proud father of two boys with his wife Alma in Tustin, California. He enjoys spending time with his family, outdoors activities international travel and weight lifting. Don is very passionate about sustainability to ensure that generations to come will enjoy a “green” earth.
Don obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University’s School of Packaging and also an MBA from the University of California, Irvine. As a former member of the Board of Directors for the Michigan State University Packaging Alumni Association, Don is a strong supporter of MSU.
Spartan Lauren Aitch discusses her various roles as an entrepreneur, clothing designer, philanthropist, and former Spartan Basketball Player.
Athlete, entrepreneur, designer, philanthropist — Michigan State University alumna Lauren Aitch is all of these in one. From 2005-10, Aitch played center for the Spartans women’s basketball team. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years and played professionally overseas. Now, she runs two companies as well as her own foundation.
Aitch grew up with basketball — and green and white — in her blood. Her father, Matthew Alexander Aitch, played for Michigan State and the Indiana Pacers, and Aitch recalled wanting to be like him.“My dad said to me, ‘When you’re ready to learn how to play basketball, I’ll teach you,’” Aitch said. “So around ages 10, 11, 12, I said, ‘Yeah, I’m ready.’ That’s when he started to teach me how to play, and I picked it up pretty quickly.”Aitch’s father passed away unexpectedly near the end of her sophomore year at MSU. Around that same time, she was also recovering from an ACL tear and dealing with a transition in the coaching staff.“There were a lot of changes that occurred while I was a student-athlete at Michigan State,” Aitch said. “There were some difficult times, but we had a great support system at Michigan State, and they were very understanding.”
After five years as a student-athlete, Aitch left MSU with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and design as well as a master’s degree in public relations. She left East Lansing for the cobblestone streets of Copenhagen, Denmark, where she played basketball professionally for one year.
It was during her time overseas that Aitch really fortified her other true passion — design. “I lived in downtown Copenhagen, which is like the fashion capital of Scandinavia,” Aitch said. “It was like a fairy tale.”Growing up, Aitch was taller than most girls (she topped out at 6’1”). Consequently, she always had a difficult time finding clothing that fit and complemented her body type.“When I was young, I thought, ‘This would be so much easier if I just designed my own line,’” she said. Her stay in Denmark allowed her to do just that. Aitch spent her free time sketching and learning about design. She had samples made at a local design house and laid the groundwork to start her own company, Lady Aitch.
At the same time that she was getting her new business going, she began toying with the idea for a foundation. Together with Dr. Jim Potchen and the Michigan State University Health Teams, Aitch developed the mission for The Aitch Foundation — to raise money for early detection of hidden cancers.“My dad did not pass away from cancer, but I have had six family members who are either warriors or have passed away from cancer,” Aitch explained. “I wanted to make it a cause that’s really going to change people. I wanted it to be something that made sense, something that would be powerful, something people would feel connected to. I wanted to help.”The Aitch Foundation holds the annual Hidden Key Fashion Show at Spartan Stadium, which enlists former student-athletes and community leaders as models. The first show, held just 20 days after Aitch’s return from Denmark, raised $10,000 and featured clothing designed specifically for her former teammates.
The Aitch Foundation also sponsors advocacy days. These events provide opportunities for people to enroll in health insurance, get routine physicals and receive cancer screenings. The goal is to help people learn more about their overall health.“It’s a two-tier fight, the way that I look at it,” Aitch said. “You have to have the research, but you also have to have an educated population.”
Since returning from that trip to Copenhagen, Aitch’s business and charitable work have grown. She designs custom suits for Lady Aitch and is transitioning her patterns for ready-to-wear. She is a designer-in-residence at The Runway, a fashion incubator in Lansing, Mich. She also started another company, Our Own, which produces high-performance undershirts primarily for people in public-service occupations such as police officers and hospital workers.
Her fashion show is in its fourth year, and her foundation now includes a youth-mentoring program. Aitch’s hope for the future is to hire more staff, get greater public engagement and help more people overall.“I aspire to make my company a platform for people to come in and engage in their passions,” Aitch said. “The more people we can touch, the more people we can help. That’s what I’m looking for within my companies.”