Notable Alumni

Since the program started in 1989, over 500 LGO alumni (out of about 1,300) have attained senior leadership positions in global companies, founded their own firms, or directed complex strategic initiatives.

Below is a small selection of some of the engineering careers and tech careers possible after completing MIT LGO. We’ll add to the list regularly with alumni who are at the top of their industries and who have made a difference in their organizations.

tanja vainio LGO notable

Tanja Vainio (LGO ’04)

Country Managing Director for the Czech Republic and Hungary, ABB
While at LGO: MBA & SM in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Previous studies: Mechanical Engineering, RWTH Aachen and Tampere University of Technology

After LGO, Tanja continued to build her 15-year career at ABB, holding global leadership roles in her engineering career such as Vice President of Supply Chain Management for the Power Electronics business and Vice President/General Manager for Service and After-Sales in Power Electronics. Since 2011 she has been the ABB Country Manager for Hungary, and in 2015 she added the Czech Republic to her responsibilities.

LGO’s integrated curriculum that emphasizes leadership, business, and technical acumen, including the six-month internship, was an incredible learning experience in the classroom, in the various company visits as well as from the other students in the class. The extended community of LGO alumni has also been a great asset for me—one that I’m using regularly even today.

Vainio on ABB’s use of renewable energy in manufacturing ->

0744b40Rafael Omar de Jesus (LGO ’00)

Group Vice President and Global Account Executive, ABB
While at LGO: MBA and SM Mechanical Engineering
Previous Studies: Purdue University, Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering

Rafael’s current role is to ensure that ABB and its partners deliver the best value to all end-users. He has been at ABB since graduating from the LGO program, living in places like Finland, Ireland, and Mexico and working in over 25 countries. He has held high-profile operations roles like Regional Manager of Operations Development and Program Manager of the Mexico business expansion. Prior to his time at ABB he was with LGO Partner Company Boeing. He was an integral force in creating the strong partnership between LGO and ABB.

ABB’s LGO partnership page ->

Hollie Schmidt (LGO ’92)

VP of Scientific Operations, Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis
While at LGO: MBA and SM Materials Science and Engineering
Previous Studies: MIT, Mechanical Engineering

Hollie had several entrepreneurial ventures before her current role as VP of Scientific Operations at Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis (ACP). The focus of ACP is to accelerate research efforts and eventually find a cure for MS. Currently she is working with the Clinical Research Network to start a 2500 patient study to optimize treatment response and understanding the progression of MS.

“It’s one thing to be an expert or an executive; it’s another to be a leader. Building leadership classes and seminars into the curriculum makes this program uniquely valuable.”

Rick Dauch 92Rick Dauch (LGO ’92)

President and CEO, Accuride Corporation
While at LGO: MBA and SM Materials Science and Engineering
Previous Studies: United States Military Academy at West Point, Engineering

With over 25 years of experience in both military and corporate careers, Rick brings a strong set of leadership skills across many dimensions. He is currently CEO and President of Accuride Corporation, one of the most diverse manufacturers and suppliers of commercial car parts in North America. Prior to his position at Accuride, Rick was president and chief executive officer of Acument Global Technologies and spent 13 years at American Axle and Manufacturing, Inc. in various roles. During his military career he was a company commander and qualified as an Airborne-Ranger and expert infantryman.

“My experience in the military prepared me to be a leader, and the LGO program provided us with a broad perspective on the types of leadership challenges we would face as young (and now senior) business leaders. Our exposure to and interaction with senior industry leaders and cutting-edge professors, allowed us to acquire the critical skills required to be effective and successful business leaders in a rapidly changing, competitive world.”

jeff wilke

Jeff Wilke (LGO ’93)

CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon
While at LGO: MBA & SM Chemical Engineering
Previous studies: Princeton University, Chemical Engineering

After completing the LGO program, Jeff began his engineering management career at a variety of leadership positions in the chemical and polymer industries. Since 1999, he has led unprecedented growth at Amazon. Jeff serves on LGO’s Governing Board and is deeply involved in the program. He’s spoken to LGO classes regularly during Amazon case discussions, leadership seminars, and site visits.

When I assumed leadership of Amazon.com’s operations in 1999, we needed a playbook—and fast. Fortunately, I had the LGO playbook, and it worked.

LGO impact at Amazon ->

Amazon’s LGO partnership page ->

Leigh Hunnicutt 08Leigh Hunnicutt (LGO ’08)

Director, Quality Assurance, Amgen
While at LGO: MBA and SM in Biological Engineering
Previous Studies: University of Arizona, Molecular & Cellular Biology

Leigh joined Amgen directly from LGO as a strategic planning and operations manager. She has risen quickly through the company, holding positions like manufacturing manager and senior manager of plant quality before becoming the young director Amgen has ever had. She now oversees quality for the clinical manufacturing plant in their global manufacturing network.

“My diverse experiences and close relationships with incredible classmates have given me great cross-industry knowledge, leadership skills, and a global perspective.”

Leigh recognized as a “rising star” in her industry ->

Amgen’s LGO partnership page ->

rob york

Rob York (LGO ’95)

Vice President of Manufacturing Design, Apple
At LGO: SM in Management and SM in Mechanical Engineering
Previous studies: Purdue University, Mechanical Engineering

Rob joined LGO from General Motors, where he served in various capacities ranging from a plant floor supervisor to a design engineer. After completing the LGO program, he launched a mechanical engineering career focused on product development, manufacturing, and lean process improvement, including leadership roles at Perceptron, Solidica, and Honeywell Aerospace. Since 2007 he has led Apple’s manufacturing operations. He was named Vice President of Manufacturing Design in 2014.

LGO provides a strong foundation of theory, yet LGO’s specific attention to leadership and systems thinking is key for navigating through uncharted territory. My career, which I believe is typical for many LGO graduates, has been an exciting upward journey enabled by skills developed and honed while at MIT.

0887103Lindsay Anderson (LGO ‘93)

Vice President Quality, The Boeing Company
While at LGO: MBA and SM Materials Science and Engineering
Previous Studies: Montana State University – Bozeman, Chemical Engineering

Lindsay Anderson is a leader for quality throughout all of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. He interacts with Boeing factories and offices throughout the world, and with Boeing global supply chain network. Prior to his current position, Lindsay was vice president of 737 field operations & delivery. He spent several years as the managing director of Hawker de Havilland, a Boeing wholly owned subsidiary in Melbourne, Australia

“Talent coming from LGO has moved Boeing much further as a manufacturer than if we did not have these leaders.”

Pat Shanahan 91Patrick Shanahan (LGO ‘91)

Senior Vice President, Supply Chain and Operations, The Boeing Company
While at LGO: MBA and SM Mechanical Engineering
Previous Studies: University of Washington, Mechanical Engineering

After a successful record at Boeing, Patrick Shanahan was promoted to senior vice president of supply chain and operations. He has previously held positions like senior vice president of Airplane Programs, and BCA vice president and general manager of the 757 program. During his career at Boeing, he has directly impacted the 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and 787 programs. Currently, Pat is responsible for all of Boeing’s manufacturing operations and supplier management functions, overseeing a global supply chain. He reports directly to Boeing Chairman, President, and CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

“The education, knowledge and relationships I gained from the program were exportable and useful on day one in the workplace, and 30 years later I still draw on the LGO experience.”

jenks_mark_400x540Mark Jenks (LGO ‘91)

Vice President/General Manager – 787 Program, The Boeing Company
While at LGO: MBA and SM Materials Science Engineering
Previous Studies: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Aero Engineering

Mark Jenks joined The Boeing Company in 1983 and has held various roles during his tenure there. Most recently he has served on the 787 Dreamliner project at Boeing since its inception in 2005. During that time he has held positions like director, 787 Wing, vice president 787 engineering, and vice president of 787 derivatives. In his current position Mark is tasked with bringing the cost of manufacturing down on the jet, which on average costs more to manufacture than the sale price. He will also be overseeing the introduction of the 787-10, the largest airplane in the Dreamliner fleet.

Tim Copes 92Tim Copes (LGO ‘92)

Vice President – Materials Services Commercial Aviation Services, The Boeing Company
While at LGO: MBA and SM Mechanical Engineering
Previous Studies: University of Wisconsin, Mechanical Engineering

Currently the vice president of materials services for Boeing commercial aviation, Tim Copes is responsible for managing the most comprehensive aircraft’s spare-parts sales, service and distribution network. His serves customers worldwide, and supports the global delivery of spare parts. Prior to his current role, Tim has held positions like vice president of fleet services, president of shared services group, and vice president of technical services.

“Our ongoing relationship and commitment to the program is real and sincere because it works. It gives us one pipeline of leadership we wouldn’t otherwise have. Combined with our internal rotation/development program to develop this talent, LGO is very important to us, and that’s why we stay involved. It’s fair to say that LGO is now part of the DNA of The Boeing Company.”

Boeing’s LGO Partnership Page ->

Meghan ScanlonMeghan Scanlon (LGO ‘00)

Vice President Global Marketing, Boston Scientific
While at LGO: MBA and SM Mechanical Engineering
Previous Studies: Tufts University, Mechanical Engineering

Meghan Scanlon has been balancing two important roles since graduating from LGO: a strong career at Johnson & Johnson and now Boston Scientific, and motherhood. While she prioritizes motherhood and raising her two children over her professional career, she still has made quite an impact in her roles. Johnson & Johnson created a position specifically for her, and while there she was able to rotate through finance and operations before settling into a role in marketing. She is now the vice president of global marketing at partner company Boston Scientific, and she uses her technical fortitude with sound product rationalization to make decisions and get buy-in from others.

“LGO is one of the most unique experiences for a woman from a technical background because it prepares you to make a very successful transition into a business leadership role. Plus, LGOs are the most well-rounded individuals in the professional world.”

Boston Scientific’s LGO partnership page ->

Michael Blatz 93Michael Blatz (LGO ‘93)

Chief Executive Officer, Bull Moose Industries
While at LGO: MBA and SM Mechanical Engineering
Previous Studies: United States Military Academy at West Point, Mechanical Engineering

After a successful career in the military as an officer and a pilot, Michael Blatz transitioned to a career in the private sector. He held several positions at Lennox International, such as vice president of operations and president & COO before beginning his current role as CEO of Bull Moose Industries. Bull Moose Industries’ core business is steel pipe and tube, but they have expanded significantly over the 50+ years they have been in business. They are now looking to expand their portfolio of programs by acquiring like-minded engineering companies. Michael’s role as CEO guides the manufacturing firm by building strong management teams.

Denise Johnson CaterpillarDenise Johnson (LGO ’97)

Group President, Resource Industries, Caterpillar
While at LGO: MBA & SM Mechanical Engineering
Previous studies: Michigan State University, Mechanical Engineering
Denise launched a successful career after her mechanical engineering and MBA degrees with LGO. She led multiple high-stakes projects at General Motors before moving to Caterpillar. She developed a variety of skills at LGO that helps her strategically manage global operations and manufacturing organization.

Most of the challenges that I face in my career involve figuring out the optimal way—the optimal how—to get a job done successfully. LGO provided me with not only the analytical and problem-solving skill set that I needed to be truly effective but also the leadership and organization savvy that is so important for success in today’s business world.

Denise becomes the first woman in Cat’s top ranks ->

Caterpillar’s LGO partnership page ->

jim-millerJim Miller (LGO ’93)

Vice President, Worldwide Operations, Google
While at LGO: MBA & SM Mechanical Engineering
Previous studies: Purdue University, Aerospace Engineering

Jim joined LGO after a successful engineering career at IBM. After completing his MBA and SM in engineering at MIT, he launched a leadership career in tech companies, assuming increasingly responsible roles at Intel (then an LGO partner company), Amazon, Cisco, and First Solar. He has worked in Google’s senior leadership team since 2010.

I value immensely what the program taught me. Google was looking to fill this role with someone who could think big, looking ahead to the company being a lot different in three to five years than it is today. I think I’m characteristic of many LGOs: we walk into situations where there isn’t a precedent for our roles.

Jim on reducing waste, Google’s Green Blog ->

Jim’s reflection on his career in a TedX talk ->

Webinar: Lessons on Leadership and Life Post-LGO ->

Jim Chow 04Jim Chow (LGO ‘04)

Head, Global System Integrator Partnerships, Americas, Google Cloud Platform
While at LGO: MBA and SM Civil and Environmental Engineering
Previous Studies: MIT, Civil Engineering and Management

Armed with four degrees from MIT, Jim Chow has 20 years of technical expertise that he brings to Google, where he works to “make cloud computing a reality for all.” Previous to his current position, Jim led the network of over 10,000+ global resellers for Google Apps. In 2012 he was listed as one of NAAMBA’s “Top 40 Global Emerging Leaders Under 40.” While at LGO Jim won the Charles Harrison Smith III Memorial Award, an honor bestowed on the classmate who contributes the most to the program over the two years.

Listen to Jim’s Podcast on his work with Google Apps -> 

Dan GrotskyDan Grotsky (LGO ‘01)

Co-founder and VP of Sales and Marketing, Groundwork BioAg
While at LGO: MBA and SM Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Previous Studies: Tel Aviv University, Industrial Engineering

A serial entrepreneur, Dan Grotsky’s current goal is to transform the agriculture industry with a product that capitalizes on the symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi. His start-up, Groundwork BioAg, can trace its beginnings back to a meeting at the MIT Club of Israel. The company develops and produces mycorrhizal inoculants for agriculture, and sells the sustainable, organic, and cost-effect product to growers. Prior to his current position, Dan was CEO at two different companies in the agriculture industry in Israel and is an alumnus of the Israeli military intelligence Talpiot program.

Aimee Wiedmeyer 06Aimee Wiedmeyer (LGO ‘06)

Director, Go To Market Strategy & Planning, Harley-Davidson Motor Company
While at LGO: MBA and SM Civil and Environmental Engineering
Previous Studies: Northwestern University, Environmental Engineering

Aimee Wiedmeyer isn’t just a director at Harley-Davidson: she’s also a customer. Her current position is director of go-to-market strategy, and over her 10+ years there she has held positions like construction project manager, area manager, and manager of international projects. She leads continuous improvement projects for the company and does strategic business planning across several functions. Since joining the company she says she’s owned four motorcycles, and enjoys supporting the company as a consumer just as much as an employee.

heath holtzHeath Holtz (LGO ’05)

Vice President, Manufacturing, Nissan North America
While at LGO: MBA & SM Engineering Systems
Previous studies: United States Air Force Academy & Georgia Institute of Technology, Operations Research
After serving in the US armed forces, Heath used the LGO program to transition from service to a management role and a leading engineering career. Heath joined Nissan directly after graduating from MIT, and has grown in leadership level continuously since then. After leading Nissan Europe’s supply chain, he became in 2017 the VP for Manufacturing in charge of Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant, the largest automotive factory in North America.

My first real global exposure was at LGO: the faculty, the students, the companies we got to meet, and the people we got to talk to. The balance of engineering and business is extremely valued in global manufacturing companies.

Webinar: LGO Global Careers ->

Recent Action Learning Labs with Nissan Europe ->

danielle appelhansDannielle Appelhans (LGO ’11)

Global Head Operations Management, Novartis
While at LGO: MBA and SM in Mechanical Engineering
Previous studies: University of Michigan, Mechanical Engineering
Dannielle came to LGO from Eli Lilly and Co. and afterwards joined McKinsey & Co., where she became an Engagement Manager in its operations practice. Since 2014, she has held leadership positions at Novartis and its subsidiaries. Her responsibilities have included developing the strategic direction and driving a transformation of a portfolio of products, responsible for over $3.5B in sales, as well as leading operational performance across a network of manufacturing sites.

I value immensely what the program taught me, the broad exposure I received, and the relationships I built for a lifetime. Through McKinsey, I was able to further leverage the skills and experiences from MIT and codify some of the concepts I learned in the classroom. I think my mentality is characteristic of many LGOs: at the core we are passionate about improving operations and driving organizations to be the best in their field.

wernerMilo Werner (LGO ’07)

VP Manufacturing and Hardware Engineering, Off.Grid:Electric
While at LGO: MBA & SM Civil and Environmental Engineering
Previous studies: University of Vermont, Civil Engineering and Geology
Milo joined LGO after a career as an engineer working on major underground infrastructure projects. After MIT, she spent eight years at Tesla Motors, managing product launches for the company. During this time, she won the C3E Women in Clean Energy – Innovation and Technology Development award from the U.S. Department of Energy and the MIT Energy Initiative. After a number of years leading new product introduction at Fitbit, Milo joined Off.Grid:Electric as a leader of the company’s efforts to bring renewable electricity to rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The LGO program gave me the foundation to lead organizations and build some of the most high-tech products. Students learn at LGO how to lead and influence organizations that have fast-paced, dynamic technical environments. These are the skills that have catapulted me into companies that are challenging the speed at which new technologies can be brought into our everyday lives.

Milo accepts her Innovation and Technology Development award ->

david lindersDavid Linders (LGO ’13)

CTO/Co-founder, Podimetrics
While at LGO: MBA and SM in Mechanical Engineering
Previous studies: University of Washington, Bioengineering
David was in the medical device industry before enrolling in LGO. His team won the MIT 100K Business Plan competition’s health science track. He and LGO classmate Brian Petersen subsequently launched Podimetrics, an outgrowth of their $100K project that develops sensor devices to keep diabetic feet healthy.

In product development and operations, especially within a startup, every aspect of the business is interconnected and decisions in one area affect many others. The LGO program taught me to be a principled decision-maker in environments with uncertainty and many stakeholders.

Podimetrics website ->

jim lawtonJim Lawton (LGO ’90)

Chief Marketing and Product Officer, Rethink Robotics
While at LGO: MBA & SM in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Previous studies: Tufts University, Electrical Engineering
Jim Lawton joined LGO’s inaugural class with a passion for manufacturing and new product development. Since LGO, he has created new markets, cultivated disruptive product innovation, revitalized business models, and driven successful acquisitions for global giants like HP, Dun & Bradstreet, and emerging technology companies focused on manufacturing and supply chain. In 2013, Jim focused on a robotics career and joined the leadership team at Rethink Robotics, which is transforming the way manufacturers use artificial intelligence and automation.

From its inception, LGO has focused on building and growing leaders who think big, look ahead to where a company can be in three to five years, and apply technology to transform the business of manufacturing. LGO helped me hone the skills and strategies I use to see around the corner, and build the organizations, products, and paths that can capitalize on these rare moments and create lasting value.

Jim’s blog ->

Doug Field 92Doug Field (LGO ’92)

VP of Engineering, Tesla Motors
While at LGO: MBA and SM Mechanical Engineering
Previous Studies: Purdue University, Mechanical Engineering

If you’ve ever driven a Ford, used a Mac computer, or taken a Segway tour in a new city, then you’ve been impacted by Doug Field’s work. He was the #1 employee at Segway, and built the team and technology for the gyro-balancing vehicle. After his work at Segway he held two positions at Apple, VP of product design and VP of Mac hardware and oversaw nearly 2000 employees. He led many technology developments at Apple, including new versions of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac. He was there for over 5 years before being recruited by Tesla Motors. At Tesla he was charged with the task of bringing a lower-cost Tesla to market, which he achieved.

Viju-MenonViju Menon (LGO ’94)

Chief Supply Chain Officer, Verizon
While at LGO: MBA & SM Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Previous studies: University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Computer Science and Engineering
Viju came to LGO from Intel and subsequently continued his 19-year Intel career, distinguished by key leadership roles such as Factory Manager, and subsequently, Head of Worldwide Supply Planning Operations. In 2010, Viju joined Verizon Wireless as Vice President, Supply Chain. In 2013, he was named Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain, at Verizon Communications.

LGO proved to be an amazing inflection point in shaping my world view, developing my leadership skills, and influencing my subsequent career trajectory. Even after 20 years, I still draw from my LGO toolkit when it comes to thinking big and leading transformational change. I am a big LGO believer, and it was a no-brainer for me to sign up Verizon as an LGO partner.

Verizon’s LGO partnership page ->