North American Lightning (NAL) and Indiana State University have established a strong working relationship including the company’s investment in the ISU career center. NAL is the first formal corporate sponsor of ISU.
NAL President Kirk Gadberry and ISU President Deborah Curtis met, among other company and university officials, to sign a formal gift agreement, making NAL the first formal corporate partner of ISU.
NAL company officials and alumni presented ISU with a check of $75,000 for their three-year partnership including the naming rights to the College of Technology Student Success Center and sponsorship of the university’s Career Center and athletic programs.
The College of Technology’s new Student Success Center, located on the first floor of the John T. Myers Technology Center, is now the North American Lighting Student Success Center. The ISU Board of trustees approved the renaming of the career center until Oct. 12, 2021, last month.
NAL hosted Curtis, the new dean of the College of Technology Nesli Alp, as well as representatives of the ISU Alumni Association and ISU Foundation, during a get together for ISU alumni employed at the Paris plant Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Lot 50.
“We are excited about this new relationship for many reasons, but I believe the overarching motivation of the partnership is the opportunity to support local students as they pursue educational and career goals here in the local community,” said Gadberry.
Plant general manager Chad Thompson, NAL Assistant General Manager of Corporate Human Resources and alumna of ISU Mandy Martin and ISU alum general manager of production control Brian Gosnell were among those present for the social hour.
Thompson said NAL is a regular recruiter of ISU graduates — including many in leadership positions.
“We are thankful for the caliber of students ISU delivers and we are proud to be an Employer of Choice as we employ over 60 alumni between our Corporate Headquarters and Paris Plant,” said Martin. “NAL recognizes what the university is doing and sees great value in the programs taking place on-campus. It is our privilege to partner with ISU and support these efforts as an expression of NAL’s commitment to the ideals of Corporate Social Responsibility.”
Prior to the social hour, Curtis, accompanied by Alp and other ISU representatives, toured the Paris NAL plant — and Curtis and Alp were enthusiastic in the assessment of the facility.
Curtis said seeing the plant and visiting with the NAL ISU alumni provided an opportunity to reconnect them with their university as well as help spread the word about the school and what it has to offer to Edgar County seniors who are considering where to attend college. She urged alumni to, “be a chorus of trumpets and tell them about ISU.”
The college’s center, which is in its first academic year of operation, is designed to meet students where they are and assist them with both academic and post-graduation success.
“On behalf of our students, faculty and staff, I appreciate the North American Lighting’s support and contribution to the College of Technology at ISU,” said Alp. “The new student success center is crucial for our students’ success, retention and graduation.”
The college’s center brings together its faculty and staff with other campus partners — Center for Student Success, Career Center, University College, financial aid, mentoring programs, etc. — to assist in the academic success of students.
“We are so excited about the corporate partnership with NAL,” said Kara Harris, associate dean of the College of Technology. “It is both a natural and positive step in continuing to move the college forward in academic and career-ready opportunities for our students.”
Doug Smith, the interim vice president for the Division of University Advancement and CEO of the ISU Foundation praised NAL’s strategic decision to tap into ISU’s intellectual capital.
“It’s a win for the corporation. It’s a win for the university,” Smith said. “It gives our students the opportunity to interact with a potential employer, and it gives the company access to a pipeline of talent — and the ability to interact with the faculty. There may be research opportunities for a company and its products with a partnership like this one.”
Smith also noted the partnership, “demonstrates the quality of our academic programs and the importance of industry partnerships to supplement what we do to ensure student success through strong advising and internship.” He said the partnership is, “a strategic move on their part and hopefully the beginning of something bigger.”
The social following the plant tour is the first major corporate outing hosted by Lot 50, according partner Bruce Young.