Our greatest asset at the Business Engagement Center is our staff. They serve as the conduit for critical industry/university partnerships – and they’re really interesting people.
Take Jon Grice for example –
A U-M alum, Jon joined the Business Engagement Center after five years at U-M’s Tauber Institute for Global Operations and a previous career at Intel Corporation. He’s got a great industry foundation, fun family, and he sometimes wears a cape.
Q: Before working at the BEC, what was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
A: My most interesting job early in life was cutting greens and doing maintenance at the West Point Military Golf Course. As a college student, arriving for work at 5am after 0-4 hours of sleep led to some very crookedly cut greens.
The most interesting job as an adult before joining the BEC was working in semiconductor product development with Intel Corporation.
Q: You’ve worked with industry at UM for years, although you are new to the Business Engagement Center. What are your impressions of industry’s role at U-M?
A: My impression of our industry partners is that they are remarkable.
I’m blown away by their commitment to and investment in the University of Michigan, our students, faculty, and staff. In both of my roles at the University I’ve been amazed at the accessibility and support of senior leaders at the companies we partner with.
This is not because they like my personality; it is because they recognize that we at UM are committed to collaborating externally to provide faculty and students opportunities to contribute to industry – and our partners see value in being strategic partners in that effort.
Q: How do you lean on your experience in industry in this role?
A: I think more than anything, my time in industry taught me how various groups within a company (human resources, manufacturing, engineering, customer service, etc.) add value to an organization. Having some level of understanding of this better enables me to connect diverse stakeholders in a company with university partners that could help them add value to their organization.
Q: What 3 words would you use to describe the BEC?
A: Collaborative, Results-Oriented, Fun
Q: What is your biggest goal this year?
A: I want to support a unit on campus in partnering with industry to achieve something they’ve not done before.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote?
A: My father always told me that “Someone’s name is the most important thing as an individual you have, and it stays with you forever; when someone hears your name, you should be sure that they think of attributes like kind, high integrity, hardworking, empathetic, and collaborative”
Q: Tell us three things most people don’t know about you…
- I played Trivial Pursuit with Tom Brady in College.
- I think one of the most interesting part of my jobs is talking to faculty about their research interests.
- I fasten a Michigan flag as a cape for good luck if Michigan football gets more than a touchdown behind
Q: What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far?
- Networking is more important than you think it is.
- You can’t predict what your career will be but you can make decisions to open as many doors along the way as possible.
- Setting organizational goals is important but articulating and building support for those goals is even more so.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I love spending time with my wife Kristin and my three kids. We spend a lot of time laughing as a family. I still like to play sports as often as possible. Of course, all things Michigan sports. I’ve been known to DVR Michigan football games from the mid-80’s to watch after my wife goes to bed.
Q: What does true leadership mean to you?
A: Advancing a team’s mission by utilizing the talents of those on your team.