ThunderBolt - Alumni & Friends Newsletter

April / May 2013

{ Navigation: Home > Alumni Spotlight(s) }

Alumni serve role as recruiters

Alumna Jerome Gibbs

“No matter how much knowledge you have, you have to be an effective team member for it to be worth anything.”

Alumni play an active role in recruiting students to attend Trine University, and that’s exactly how Jerome Gibbs, ’00 BSSS, became a student at Trine. The West Bloomfield, Mich., native was recruited to attend Tri-State University by family friend, Jerry Sturdivant, ’76 BSTM. During his time in high school, he was passionate about basketball and was looking for a college where he could continue to play, but also gain a great education. Tri-State University was his place.

As a social science major, Gibbs was able to study multiple disciplines, including economics and psychology. This diversity gave him the upward hand upon graduation. Using the leadership skills he learned in the classroom and on the court, and using the network he built during his time as an internship at General Motors, he was able to secure a leadership position with Ford Motor Co. just one year after graduation (he worked for a credit company immediately following graduation, but changed careers upon the consolidation of the company).  He will celebrate 12 years of service with Ford this year.

Gibbs said he is proud of the education he received at Trine University and encourages his fellow alumni to be proud as well. “Be proud of your education and of Tri-State/Trine. Never undermine your education, and know that the education (we) received from Tri-State/Trine is more valuable than what others receive from large schools),” he said.

You can connect with Jerome by visiting him on LinkedIn


Show initiative and take on extra project, alum advises

Alumna Valerie Pompa

“Never look at the next job. Just concentrate on doing the job, in front of you, to the best of your ability.”

Class of ′90 CHE alumnae Valerie Pompa attended an engineering summer camp at Tri–State University during her youth. The Cassopolis, Mich., native left the camp sure that she would pursue an engineering career. She visited several engineering colleges, but found that Trine offered a place that would provide her the engineering education she wanted and an environment where she would be more than just a number.

Today, she serves as the vice president and manufacturing manager of Flint Hills Resources Corpus Christi in Texas. Since her 1990 graduation, Pompa has experienced the culture of four companies working more than 20 different roles, including process engineering, as she gained experience and earned leadership responsibilities.

Pompa says it was the education at Trine University that helped prepare her for industry and to eventually lead two large refineries in Corpus Christi with more than 1,100 employees.

"The professors prepared us with the theory, but more than that, they had a very strong emphasis on what the real world of engineering would be like. Thanks to shortcut books (used by industry engineers) I was able to draw conclusions and make recommendations faster than the typical new engineer," she said.

She encourages anybody to concentrate on the job you are in, do that job to the best of your ability with the goal of creating the most value you can for the business. She also encourages others to show initiative and be the one who will take on the extra project or assignment or try something new.

“Flint Hills Resources is a growing company where you can advance your career and take on new opportunities," Pompa said. "The private nature of the company and our management philosophy, Market–Based Management, allows us to focus on long–term value for our business and benefits our society. Flint Hills Resources is a company committed to operating excellence. We benefit from being a subsidiary of Koch Industries, which is one the largest privately held companies in the world. Our company is growing at a fast rate, only limited by the number of qualified people we can find to operate and grow our business. We have strong intern programs for all engineering disciplines and a high hiring and retention rates for interns and college graduates.”

You can connect with Pompa by visiting her LinkedIn page


Remembering alumnus Kenji Yatsushiro

Alumna Kenji Yatsushiro

A Japanese–American alum who attended Tri–State on the GI bill is remembered for his service during World War II after his passing in December.

Kenji Yatsushiro was 91 when he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease on Dec. 27. Mr. Yatsushiro studied electrical engineering and then worked at Dormeyer Industries and Controls Corp. of America in Chicago. He earned nine patents.

He and other Japanese–American soldiers served in the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the unit that saved the “Lost Battalion” behind enemy lines in southern France in 1944.

The Chicago City Council commemorated Mr. Yatsushiro for his “grace–filled life” with a resolution adopted March 13.

We extend condolences to his wife of 65 years, Anne, and their children, Christine Guro, Therese Vickers and Steve Yatsushiro. Cards of sympathy may be sent to Anne Yatsushiro at 6433 W. Belle Plaine Ave., Unit 506, Chicago, IL 60634.

Maureen O’Donnell, a reporter at the Chicago Sun–Times, profiled Mr. Yatsushiro’s life as a soldier, family man and engineer in a featured obituary. The Sun–Times has graciously offered this link to the full feature.