One of the most important factors in building a successful and profitable business is hiring the right people. So when a company finds an employee who is well-educated, innovative, and enthusiastic who fits well into their environment, it makes sense that they would go back to the same well to find more.
That’s how four Penn State Behrend Plastics Engineering Technology (PLET) graduates ended up working for the same company—ARC Group Worldwide—in Longmont, Colorado. ARC is a global metal and plastic injection molding, tooling and stamping provider with expertise in material development, prototyping and production of engineered products for aerospace, automotive, defense, and medical applications.
The first Behrend PLET graduate to work at ARC was Jason Osborne ’02. Though he has moved on, Osborne opened the door for several alumni who came after him. “
Jason wanted to recruit at Behrend to bring that mindset and focus on processes here to ARC,” said Chris Desmond ’13, business development manager. “He recruited Michael Wiseman, David Smith, and several other PLET grads.”
Currently, the company employs four PLET alumni: Desmond; Wiseman ’05, who serves as vice president of engineering; Smith ’11, who is an engineering manager; and Kevin Backoefer ’14, process engineering supervisor.
“The unique set of skills as well as the overall drive of these Behrend graduates have made them invaluable for us,” said Jed Rust, senior vice president of the company. “They have flourished not only in engineering positions, but in top management, sales, and operations, making them some of the most technically diverse employees we have on the team.
They also bring a ‘can do’ attitude to solving problems and garnering results in a systematic fashion.” Smith and Wiseman routinely return to Penn State Behrend’s career fairs to recruit graduates. One of their selling points? There is plenty of Penn State “family” to connect with at ARC.
“Knowing there were other Behrend grads working at ARC made the move appealing to me,” Desmond said. While the four alumni work in different departments, they get together in their free time.
“Mike coordinates a monthly dinner, and we get together to watch Penn State football games or attend a hockey game when the Pittsburgh Penguins are in town,” Desmond said. “It’s great to hang out with people who have a shared background.”