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Robe Leadership Institute scholars visit San Diego, meet with industry leaders

By Joe Barbaree

ATHENS, Ohio (April 20, 2012) – Students who took part in the fall Robe Leadership Institute’s seminar class  travelled to San Diego over spring break for lessons in corporate leadership.

The Robe Leadership Institute (RLI) was established in 1996 to encourage and promote effective leadership among the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology’s students, faculty and staff.

Held each fall, the institute’s seminar teaches leadership fundamentals and enables students to observe and compare various styles as they formulate their own.

Led by RLI director David Bayless and assistant director Bill Lozier, the scholars visited numerous companies to learn about corporate leadership firsthand.

“The agenda resembled an extreme triathlon more than a typical college spring break beach vacation,” Lozier said.

Abby Frankart, William Kandel, Dan Knuckles, Adam Barber, Kevin Drummond, Evan Jolley, Devin Liskey and Timothy Smoot were immersed in presentations from CEOs and presidents of top industry companies, Lozier explained.

Russ College alumnus and CEO of Powergenix Group Dan Squiller, BSEE ’79, who is also an RLI board member, organized the trip.

“We wanted to create an experience that would stick with them long after they left San Diego,” said Squiller. “Obviously, this would not have been possible had it not been for the planning, cooperation and commitment from Dean Irwin, Dr. Bayless, and Bill Lozier,” he added.

Beforehand, each student conducted research on specific corporate executives and companies to prepare.

Those responsible for the biographical research not only held pre-briefing responsibilities before each site visit, but also served as an ambassador for RLI at their site.

Squiller said he received feedback from every CEO. “They  found the RLI students to be well prepared, engaged and bright. The CEOs were impressed with the students’ knowledge of leadership and the quality of questions asked,” he said

The first night of the trip, Squiller broke the ice and noted the importance of relationships, saying they often correlate directly with success. The group also heard from Tom Bright, executive coach, president and founder of Bright Training Solutions.

Over the next few days, the students toured numerous companies in the San Diego area, including Indyme Solutions, Itech and Wintriss Engineering on the second day.

“What I most enjoyed was that you could feel the type of workplace culture that was set in place and how the employees really felt about their CEO,” said senior Abby Frankfart. “It’s something I probably wouldn't have noticed if I had not taken the class.”

The students visited Outsource Manufacturing and HM Electronics on the final day, which concluded with a panel discussion on leadership, careers and success.

“Being able to see the leaders at their companies and learn more practical business related advice about efficiency, manufacturing and company culture will help me in my future role as a leader within my workplace,” said senior Dan Knuckles.

Meanwhile, Squiller noted his own high point.

“Hearing the great things the CEOs said about the group and how much they enjoyed hosting them was one of my proudest moments as an alumnus of Ohio University,” he said.


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