|James Nordmeyer doesn't take his
Rose-Hulman education for granted. He grew up in Batesville,
Indiana, as the youngest of seven siblings, and was the first
to attend a four-year university. A highschool counselor
suggested that he would make a good engineer. "I was
always interested in chemistry, and chemical engineering
became a major of choice."
A summer internship with B.F. Goodrich led
to a full-time offer upon graduation in 1978, and he
helped the company develop processes to manufacture
ultraclean polymers. Corporate growth and change yielded
lots of interesting opportunities, helping start a
facility in Ohio and turning around a struggling polymer
operation in Australia.
When Nordmeyer returned to the U.S.,
Goodrich's chemical operation had taken the name Geon, and he
helped implement common business systems when the company
merged with M.A.
|Hanna Company. He helped the
new firm, PolyOne, expand its textile printing ink
business to China and Europe. Then, his supply chain and
business process expertise led him to his present role
as global vice president of business process systems for
Fortune 500 glass container manufacturer Owens-Illinois (O-I).
The journey has been "a great ride," but
Nordmeyer notes that "30 years ago, doing supply-chain work
and globalbusiness processes would have been the furthest
thing from my mind. Doing pure science-I haven't done that
since I left Australia."
Nevertheless, he still applies the
same problem-solving abilities learned at Rose-Hulman, and
tells today's students that they will use those same skills
"in many ways…ways you haven't thought of." For instance,
Nordmeyer is now helping O-I determine how business processes
are positively impacting various elements of
|its corporate strategy.
Strategic planning at Rose-Hulman is not all
that different, he believes: "What are the things that
Rose-Hulman is doing that are going to move strategic
elements forward?" Perhaps the most important thing, he
says, "is to continue providing the real hands-on education
that I received and current students receive. Rose-Hulman
students are head andshoulders above the rest in their ability
to take on challenges, because they get a
reallife experience from their professors."
Nordmeyer has enjoyed giving back to his
alma mater by serving the past year as Alumni Association
President and joining the Lambda Chi Alpha
fraternity's chapter housing corporation board. He also
cherishes time spent with his wife and family-along with
cycling, a hobby he started in 1977 and now he covers
several thousand miles a year.