Dave Brown came to Albion College with two goals -- he wanted to be a four-year Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion with the men's lacrosse team and have a job lined up when he crossed the crossed the stage at Commencement.
While the MIAA portion of his senior year is in progress, Brown is well on target to completing his goals. The Britons are three-time MIAA champions and he has signed on as a Junior Project Manager at General Motors after graduation.
"Being a student-athlete is important to me, but I know it's not forever," said Brown, an honorable mention all-region recipient and two-time all-MIAA first team pick on defense. "The end goal is ending your college experience with a job, a career or an internship.
"As Britons, we get a quality education here and I think it's a waste if we don't turn that into something productive and we aren't able to give back to the school after we are out of here," he added.
A student in the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management at Albion, Brown combines his passion for construction and interaction with people in his work of overseeing the construction of facilities for General Motors.
The job, essentially an apprentice to the senior project manager, involves oversight and management of the construction of facilities – from start to finish – General Motors uses to build vehicles. It includes construction of the building, the infrastructure and the equipment inside. With the various aspects that go into facility planning and construction, Brown has found the connections of playing defense in men's lacrosse that have prepared him for his career.
"You have to be dynamic both on the field and in your job," Brown said. "On the field, I'm watching the man I'm defending, watching the ball, talking, and making sure everyone is in position. And I'll take that into my job. And there are a ton of moving parts. Each day will be different from the one before.
"I like to communicate, and that is a big part of what goes into both lacrosse and my job at General Motors," he added. "Being able to communicate with the process team, contractors and full-time General Motors employees to get everyone on the same page. That (is similar) to the way we do it on the lacrosse field."
Brown started to explore possible careers in high school. With support from his parents, Dave and Carolyn, he took advantage of job shadowing opportunities during his days as a student at Lakeland High School and he talked with Albion alumni and current students at events designed to help incoming first-year students make connections with the campus community.
"I would talk to them about the most important thing they could tell me about finding a job or a career that I would like," Brown said. "I was encouraged to try every avenue that I think I would like. You have quite a bit of time to experiment."
He spent his first year at Albion continuing to develop his network and the summer after his sophomore year, Brown got experience in sales as an intern for AIS Construction Equipment. He moved on to an internship at GM after his junior year.
"General Motors liked my application at the time," Brown said. "They liked I had all these experiences prior."
'A working shape'
Brown credits lacrosse coach Jake DeCola and economics and management professor Vicki Baker as two of the most influential people at Albion.
"Coach DeCola and the men's lacrosse program has shaped me into becoming a dynamic person," he said. "I was a one block kind of guy when I first came here. I wasn't as dynamic as I am now. He helped me understand how to put all of the parts together into a working shape, a working form.
"In terms of academics, I would not have achieved everything I have without Vicki Baker," he added. "I can take something away from each class I have had with her. These lessons were paramount in helping me master many of the situations I was tasked with during my summer experience at GM. And I will continue to use those lessons as I begin my career. Before I met Vicki I had no idea about lean management and it's function to do more work with less resources whether that be labor or materials. Vicki is also similar to a mom away from home and watches out for everything I do and wants to know even the smallest detail about my day. I feel a ton of support from her."
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