University of Vermont

UVM Alumni Come Back to the Classroom

Alum Scott Hutchins visits Lecturer Dave Kaufman's class
Alum Scott Hutchins visits Lecturer Dave Kaufman's class

This spring semester, four UVM alumni and parents visited our Rubenstein School classrooms to regale our students with stories about careers in entrepreneurship and in environment and natural resources.

For the second year in a row, Scott Hutchins (RM ’84), senior director of Jabil Circuit, Inc., a global electronics manufacturing solutions firm, visited two of Lecturer Dave Kaufman’s classes. In Entrepreneurship in Recreation and Tourism, he discussed business models that he uses to grow his own business. He told students that they need to have a passion about all they do and to always keep moving forward.

In Dave’s Ski Area Management class, Scott talked about enhancing the clients' experience which leads to enhanced profit margins.  He challenged students to answer the question “will enhancing the customer experience lead to a greater bottom line?”

Peter Mertz, parent of current UVM student Carla Mertz and CEO of Global Forest Partners, LP, guest-lectured in Professor Bill Keeton’s Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems, taught by part-time lecturer Bryan Foster this year.  Although Bill is currently on sabbatical at the Austrian University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, he was able to be in Vermont to host Peter on campus.

Bill provided Peter with a tour of our very own Jericho Research Forest following his lecture and meetings with students in which he shared his background and information on current trends in forestry investments.  He has over 35 years of forest management and investment experience.  His company has offices located in the U.S. and across the world and is a leader in global timberland investing.  Peter offered seniors and graduate students in their capstone forestry class much information to digest as they conclude their studies this spring.

Jane Obaggy (ENVS ’78) visited Senior Lecturer Matt Kolan's NR 206 Environmental Problem-Solving and Impact Assessment course, the capstone class for all Rubenstein School students. Jane is an environmental consultant who manages Cadmus’s Emerging Markets Group, which provides technical support for international development activities—including environmental stewardship and risk assessment—and private-sector efforts to foster corporate social responsibility programs around the world.

She described her career path and provided students with several examples of how she leveraged each job experience to develop new skills and initiate change.  She told students that she often published articles about her work, helping organizations establish and implement strategies to manage environmental, health, and safety risks, which benefitted her career.  Jane lauded students on their accomplishment of banning plastic water bottles on campus.

David Epstein (ENVS ’80), president and executive director of the Land Conservancy of New Jersey,  was a guest in Senior Lecturer Walter Poleman's class, Place-based Landscape Analysis (NR 378), during which he participated in a field study at Shelburne Pond.  David also lectured in Associate Professor Deane Wang's class, Land Conservation - Science and Practice, where he described his work at the Land Conservancy of New Jersey.  David met with our Career Services Coordinator Anna Smiles-Becker to discuss potential student internship opportunities with the Land Conservancy of New Jersey, and he met with students curious about careers in state land conservancies.