Trine alums to tell about experience owning an NBA affiliate team

Two Trine University alumni will speak at their alma mater in October to share their life and business experiences.

Steve Jbara, a marketing and computer science major, and Wes Weir, a sports management major, played sports at Trine University and graduated in May 2010. In April 2014, the two left their careers to become president and vice president, respectively, of the Grand Rapids Drive.

Owned by SSJ Group, LLC, the Grand Rapids Drive is the affiliate of the National Basketball Association’s Detroit Pistons. The team’s inaugural season of play is the NBA D-League’s 2014-2015 season beginning in November.

According to the Drive’s mission statement, they are committed to “bringing the West Michigan community together through affordable family-friendly entertainment in a clean, safe, and festive atmosphere.” They aim to positively impact the community through various programs and fundraisers.

“We are so proud of these two gentlemen. They have done many wonderful things in their lives, and to see them start an NBA-affiliated team with a strategic vision which includes a philanthropic focus is truly impressive,” said Julie Howenstine, Ph.D., Trine University associate professor and advisor of the Trine collegiate chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Vice President of Academic Affairs John Shannon, Ph.D., said he looks forward to welcoming Jbara and Weir back to the Trine University community. He thinks these alumni illustrate the essence of Trine’s mission.

“These two individuals exemplify what Trine University is all about. We prepare students to become productive, responsible members of society,” Shannon said.

The event, hosted by the Trine student chapter of the American Marketing Association, will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, in Fabiani Theatre, located in Trine University’s Rick L. and Vicki L. James University Center. Everyone is welcome to attend the free event.