Milt is stuck in traffic, using his time efficiently to reminisce about his experience as a Rackham student. “The Midwest is and will always be my home,” he says, though his journey after graduate school has taken him into the worlds of academia and industry in Minnesota, North Carolina and now Texas. Sadly, even the best memories of football Saturdays in Ann Arbor can’t make the Houston traffic disappear…
He received faculty and industry offers almost simultaneously and found a way to pursue both. “I accepted an adjunct faculty position at the University of Minnesota while working full time in a technology company. I moved into management quickly but found that it became prohibitive to continue teaching. I did continue to support graduate students as a member of their advisory committees.” He tries today to maintain some level of academic connectivity, participating on an advisory committee at Northwestern and as an industrial advisory board member at Purdue University and the University of Houston. “I continue to work with Rackham because it is important to have connections to U-M as well because of its rich tradition of strong students and faculty.” he says.
Milt stayed in industry, pursuing interests at a start-up company in the Research Triangle before moving to his current role managing research and development for Cyberonics in Houston. Over time, he returned for an Executive M.B.A. because he became interested in other aspects of business. This strategy served him well, allowing him to still have eyes on general management and governance. “My role is supportive of that, with a focus on R&D but with broader management applications for smaller businesses rolling up under me.”
As a grad student at U-M, he recalls playing a lot of sports whenever he got the chance, finding time for flag football, basketball, and volleyball. He spent free time tutoring student athletes as well. “I was an athlete as an undergrad and I wanted to be an engineer; that balance was more difficult to strike academically. I only got through because of the help provided by graduate students who tutored me. It’s not easy to find math and hard science tutors, but it can be extremely helpful to student athletes,” Milt reflects. As a grad student at Michigan, he was able to pay it forward.
His master’s and doctoral studies were in electrical engineering with a biomedical emphasis. “I think graduate education is best when it is collaborative. Rackham can provide access to a lot of other very interesting research being done around the university, helping grad students find a basis for good multidisciplinary opportunities. There are some really interesting research topics around campus that can shape your work.”
When Milt returns to Ann Arbor now, he enjoys the nostalgia of those campus days. “We come back and take in a football game at the Big House, dine on Main Street, visit old friends and walk through campus, and we always make time to stop by Zingerman’s. I enjoy how the city has evolved.”