Andrew Masterman

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Tauber's "First Student" Gives Back

Andrew Masterman (MBA ’93, MS/MA Industrial Engineering/Japanese ’93), recently donated $150,000 to the Tauber Institute for Global Operations to provide a scholarship for an aspiring Tauber student, thus bringing his experience full circle from 1993.

It was that year when Masterman was in on the ground floor of what was to become the Tauber Manufacturing Institute (later the Tauber Institute for Global Operations). His input as a student advisor to the newly created Michigan Joint Manufacturing Initiative (MJMI), an interdisciplinary program administered by the College of Engineering and the School of Business, was crucial then, and his input now as a scholarship donor remains integral to the future of the program.

Back then, Masterman was studying three very diverse disciplines – engineering, business and international language. He didn’t know it at the time, but he was blazing a trail for thousands of business and manufacturing operations professionals at the University of Michigan and beyond. 

“It was an exciting time. When the concept of an interdisciplinary program came up -- because I was doing both degrees, plus a Japanese degree and MBA -- they tapped me to be on an advisory board with the deans. I was providing the student voice on what the institute should be. It was really an amazing experience, being able to brainstorm on what the future of the institute should look like, what type of students we could attract and what the goals and direction should be,” he said.

Because he had already been in the work force, he could clearly see the benefit of an interdisciplinary program that combined hands-on manufacturing operations with business strategy. “It made complete sense to me. In essence, it was what I was trying to do on my own. There were other institutions out there focusing on international issues, and business and manufacturing, but none that combined it all together. Made a world of sense to me,” he said.

Continuing a Tradition of Giving

After graduating, Andrew eventually served on the University of Michigan Board of governors for six years, and has been engaged with the Ross Business School for more than 20 years. He credits Professor Linda Lim with playing a huge role in creating a network of U-M alumni around the world and former RSB Dean Robert Dolan for making a significant impact on his desire to give back. He states that Dolan created an environment in which people wanted to contribute their time, talents and financial support.

“I had been successful and felt it was right to give back. It again, made sense, and I felt the scholarship could have a significant impact with students.  Dean Dolan’s example made me want to continue the history of giving and hopefully stimulate involvement in the future,” he said.

In his career, Masterman has an extensive background across varied international industrial businesses and with significant experience managing large organizations. He recently joined BrightView Landscaping Services, the nation’s leading landscaping and snow removal company, as CEO after serving as Executive Vice President at Precision Castparts, a company that specializes in manufacturing structural investment castings, forged components, and airfoil castings for aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines. Prior to Precision Castparts, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of North America for ESAB Group, Inc., a leader in welding and cutting equipment and consumables. He currently lives in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

“At end of the day, when you manage large businesses, you gain a skill base that lets you objectively look at it as an entire enterprise. I do believe being involved in the manufacturing world provides a great foundation for understanding the ways businesses work. It is a testament to the educational base at Michigan – the fact I’ve earned business, engineering, and liberal arts degrees. That foundation creates flexibility of thought and a level of adaptability that’s so necessary. Education needs to go that way -- truly take advantage of that cross-functional education. Hopefully through this scholarship, we can identify students with passion for cross functional disciplines,” he said.

What advice does he have for the 2017 Tauber students? “I would tell students that gaining a diversity of experience is critical. Don’t limit yourself to a single industry; rather find situations where you can gain from multiple experiences. A diversity of experiences and rich flexibility is important for your ability to lead.”

He and his wife, Cheryl, have three sons ages 16, 14 and 11. The family loves to spend time in the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest doing a variety of outdoor activities each summer. Back home in the Philadelphia area, they are avid sports enthusiasts, and keep busy following their boys’ activities.

He doesn’t have to look very far to find University of Michigan alumni – no matter where he is. “The reality is that Michigan is an international school, and everywhere I’ve lived I have run into professionals who are U-M grads. We all share that Michigan perspective,” he said.

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Andrew and Cheryl Masterman