Thank you for your interest in the 2019 Alumni Trustee Election. The following candidates have been nominated for the Alumni Trustee position. As a UConn graduate, you may vote for one of these nominees or for another eligible candidate of your choice. The ballot for this election will be mailed in July 2019. To learn more about the trustee eligibility requirements or election process visit the Alumni Trustee Election page.
Alumni Trustee Candidates
An official ballot will be mailed to all University of Connecticut graduates with a valid mailing address. Your ballot will be arriving at your home soon. Please take a moment to read your ballot, sign it, and mail the ballot so it arrives no later than August 13, 2019. Any form of delivery other than mail will not be counted.
For questions about the ballot or the trustee election, please contact Jennifer Burckardt at 860.486.2337.
In order for your vote to be counted, your official ballot must be signed and mailed to arrive no later than August 13, 2019.
In accordance with the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut, the Alumni Trustee ballot will be mailed to graduates of the University of Connecticut who are thus eligible to vote for the office of Alumni Trustee, and whose current mailing addresses are on record in the alumni database.
Bryan K. Pollard ’85 (CLAS)
My passion for UConn drives my desire to serve on the Board of Trustees. UConn provided me with a solid foundation and preparation for professional and personal life. I want to assure that UConn remains equipped to provide similar foundations for current and future students. My hope is that I can be a voice for the alumni and be part of the process of ensuring the vitality of our University.
- United Technologies Corporation
Associate General Counsel, Operations
- UConn Alumni Association
- President (1999-2000)
- Board of Directors (1994-2000)
- Committee on Diversity & Opportunity (2002-2015)
- Insurance Committee (2002-2014)
- Building Names Committee (2007-2008)
- Student Ambassador
- Student Representative for the Office of Minority Student Affairs
- Board Memberships
- St. Bernard School, Uncasville, CT (2012-Present)
- Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, FL (2018)
- University of St. Joseph, Hartford, CT (2015-2017)
- St. Vincent DePaul, Middletown, CT (2011-2015)
- Connecticut Health & Educational Facilities Authority (2006-2013)
- YMCA of Northern Middlesex County (2003-2009)
- City of Middletown, CT Board of Ethics (1995-1998; Chairperson 1998)
- The Connection, Inc., Middletown, CT (1995-1998)
- Chairperson of the United Way Campaign for Otis Elevator Company (2012-2014)
- UConn, B.A. in Political Science, Honors Scholar, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1985
- Yale Law School, J.D. 1988
What has been the most important role in your past service to the University and how has it prepared you to serve on the Board of Trustees?
The most important role in my past service to the University was my term as president of the Alumni Association. That role solidified my commitment to UConn and its alums, and prepared me for the position as Alumni Trustee.
As a result of my presidency, I became familiar with many of the complex issues and factors that must be taken into consideration in the operation of our University. Further, I became intimately familiar with matters associated with board governance. In particular, my experiences as president highlighted the importance of acting within the scope of an organization’s by-laws, following established parliamentary procedures and amending governing documents as necessary. That experience will stand me in good stead as a member of the Board of Trustees.
During my term as president, I became keenly aware of the multi-faceted nature of UConn and the impact that UConn has on many people. I interacted with members of the various alumni chapters and affinity groups and came to understand what was important to them. My experience provided me with the opportunity to balance competing interests, and to develop and implement strategies and policies that were in the best interest of the University overall.
In addition to interacting with a broad range of alums, I had the honor and pleasure of making a lasting impact on the Alumni Association and the University at large. I played a key role in the formulation of a plan that resulted in the expansion of the Alumni Center. In the beginning of my time on the Board of Directors, the Alumni Center was not perceived to be a welcoming place for all alums. UConn lacked a central location where we could celebrate the many and varied contributions that UConn alums have made throughout the world. It was important to me and others that our Alumni Center represent the breadth of the achievements of our UConn alums in academia, athletics, business, arts, and culture.
During my time as president, we developed the plan that was later implemented to showcase the many world-renowned achievements of our alums. The present Alumni Center contains ample space dedicated to a “hall of fame” of our outstanding scholars, scientists, artists, business leaders, and athletes. It stands as a testament to the contributions of our UConn alum.
In my time on the Alumni Association Board and as president, I worked with many active and engaged Alumni chapters and affinity groups across the country. To acknowledge the mobility of our alums and the need for our graduates to remain connected to UConn, we expanded the reach of the Alumni Association by supporting the creation of chapters in geographic locations outside of Connecticut. I was also involved in expanding the Alumni Association’s outreach to various affinity and cultural groups that had previously been underrepresented or who had not participated in alumni activities in the past. We created a strategic plan to increase diversity and inclusiveness. This was a precursor to the standing committee on Diversity and Opportunity, which has been an essential part of the strategic plan of the Alumni Association, and a model for the University’s overall strategic plan on diversity and inclusion. These efforts helped to ensure that the diversity of the University community was duly recognized and respected. This ability to reach out to and connect with a diverse group of people has been invaluable to me and is a skill that I will bring to the Board of Trustees.
During my term as president, I witnessed the power and importance of UConn athletics, notably through our men’s and women’s basketball championship teams. I saw how the success of those teams ignited the campus, the state, and the country, propelling UConn and its alums to national prominence. We capitalized on the success of our athletic programs by organizing events that were centered on athletics, and that resulted in alums becoming involved in the broader range of the alumni experience. I learned about the financial impact athletics has on the University, and that having a financially sound athletic program is essential to having a healthy top-tier university. This heightened awareness of the value of athletics prepared me to participate in the critical discussions and decisions that an Alumni Trustee must make concerning athletics. My role as president of the Alumni Association helped me develop and refine my leadership abilities, skills associated with consensus building among groups who may have competing views or ideas, and my ability to develop and implement strategic plans. If elected as an Alumni Trustee, I will use my experience, skills, talent, drive, and commitment to ensure that UConn sustains its role as a top-tier university. I am proud of UConn’s past and am confident that I can play a role in ensuring that UConn continues to thrive in the future.
In your view, what are the most pressing issues that the University of Connecticut faces?
In my view, the most pressing issues that the University of Connecticut faces are in two primary categories — economic and operational challenges. Each category and their subcategories are intertwined and interrelated. Although complicated, these categories and subcategories of issues can be solved through thoughtful and strategic planning and careful implementation of that plan.
The economic issues facing UConn are largely related to the cuts to the University’s general fund. UConn has seen budget cuts for nearly a decade, and the impact is being felt by current students. To be consistent with its mission as a public institution of higher education, UConn must be cost-competitive and affordable. Students have faced and are facing increased tuition costs. Putting the burden on students and their families is not sustainable, and is counterproductive. To a large extent, students are consumers. They will make choices based on perceived value and return on investment. If the cost of attending UConn rises too much, many of our finest students who have many other options for college will choose to pursue those options instead of attending UConn. If those students choose to leave Connecticut for college, they may not return to the State, thus exacerbating the “brain drain” that Connecticut has experienced in recent years.
Continued budgetary problems will leave UConn unable to sustain the academic programming and physical infrastructure that is essential to a thriving university. UConn needs to have academic programs and offer degrees that will lead to productive careers for our graduates. We need to stay on the cutting edge by having academic and research facilities that are state of the art, not only to service current students but to attract new students to the University.
Over the last 25 years, UConn has made substantial investments in its athletic programs. UConn faces a challenge of determining how to maintain our forward momentum in that area and assuring that our athletic programs are on solid financial footing. This will require us to address some of the financial issues that have recently been brought to light. The Board of Trustees needs to work with the University’s new president to assure that the athletic programs not only are financially sound, but most importantly support our student-athletes to be successful in the classroom, in their sporting endeavors, and in their lives after UConn.
Given the state of Connecticut’s economy overall, UConn likely will be forced to increase its efforts to obtain funding from other sources. We will have to increase corporate sponsorship and philanthropic donations. In addition, professors will need to escalate efforts to obtain federal or private funding for their research projects. Identifying and obtaining funding from alternative sources is a challenge.
The economic challenges may appear to be daunting. I am confident, however, that we can successfully navigate these challenges if we utilize all of the resources available to us. Together, using our “Husky Ingenuity” we can overcome these challenges.
The operational challenges facing UConn include attracting and retaining the most qualified student body and faculty possible. As stated above, students are consumers with a myriad of options available to them. They want and deserve to be in institutions that have a vast number of courses and majors available to them; an outstanding physical plant with state of the art classrooms, libraries, laboratories, residence halls, and athletic facilities; and an environment that is open, accepting, and welcoming. While all of those elements are important, diversity and inclusion is of paramount importance to the student experience. UConn has made great strides in the recent past to increase its diversity and inclusiveness. While UConn is becoming an institution with a student population that more closely resembles the overall population, UConn can and must do more to attract students from historically underrepresented groups. The diversity and inclusion mission does not stop with admission but continues on to graduation. Students must feel comfortable and supported. UConn has developed a good support system for diverse students through the establishment and operation of various cultural centers and affinity groups. This support must continue if UConn is to continue to be a place where there is a healthy exchange of ideas. With the increasing budgetary pressures and the need to trim costs, it may be a challenge to maintain funding for these cultural centers and programs; however, this is a challenge that we must meet.
Showcasing the value of UConn and a UConn degree presents another challenge to the University. Again, today’s students want to know that the investment of time, effort, and money will have a pay off after graduation. They want to know that they will be able to not just get a job but to have a fulfilling and rewarding career in their chosen field. A challenge for UConn is to show that the cost-benefit analysis is favorable and that having a UConn degree can and will open doors after graduation. Students need to see other UConn graduates in the careers to which they aspire. UConn must meet the challenge of highlighting the successes of our alums in the many fields where we can be found.
The economic and operational challenges discussed above are just a small representation of the challenges that are before UConn today. These issues are not insurmountable. With focused efforts of people who are dedicated to the success of the University, we can and will overcome these obstacles. My pledge is that if elected to be an Alumni Trustee, I will work to develop and implement viable solutions.
Likewise, in your view, what are the biggest opportunities for the University of Connecticut?
UConn has a number of opportunities upon which it can capitalize in the near future. If UConn takes full advantage of these opportunities, I am confident that it will reach new heights and become a world-class institution in all respects.
A critical opportunity for UConn is to become a vital part of the economic recovery of Connecticut. UConn can and should increase its partnerships with businesses and industries that either are based in Connecticut or that have a strong presence in Connecticut. Current statistics show that 76% of UConn’s undergraduate population are Connecticut residents and that 76% of UConn’s most recent graduates from in-state are living and working in Connecticut. In addition, 27% of out-of-state graduates stay in Connecticut for employment. If UConn continues to produce high-quality graduates who are committed to living and working in Connecticut, UConn can play a key role in fueling the Connecticut economy.
Through forming and enhancing partnerships with key businesses and industries that can provide funding for UConn programs and jobs for UConn graduates, UConn can become more of an economic force in the State. This increased stature as an economic force will result in more opportunities to attract the highest quality students and faculty. It will also assist in decreasing UConn’s financial dependency on state government. If UConn’s business and industrial partners have a vested interest in the success of the University because UConn is producing a stream of highly qualified employees for such businesses and industries, they will be more likely to contribute resources to support UConn. The relationship is circular, forming an endless loop that can be beneficial to the future of UConn.
UConn also has an opportunity to continue to impact the cities where its campuses are located. The UConn Hartford campus has breathed new life into the area surrounding the campus, creating an economic vitality that previously did not exist. If the same stimulus were to occur near the Avery Point, Waterbury, and Stamford campuses, that would have a positive impact on the economies in those communities.
In addition to the opportunity to have an economic impact on Connecticut and consistent with the University Mission Statement, UConn has an opportunity to provide community service and outreach to others. Our students, faculty, staff, and alums can be of great service to many underserved members of our communities. UConn can and should be a visible player in that arena. While members of the UConn community have been involved in some outreach activities, we can and should do more to be truly engaged citizens. The opportunities to make significant impacts in these areas are endless.
Another opportunity present for UConn is to expand its research capabilities and become world renowned for being centers of excellence in scholarly research in technology, physical sciences, and social sciences. The framework for centers of excellence presently exists, but we can go further. Being a recognized world leader in research will result in multiplying our base of professors and scholars, attracting high caliber students who want to study with the recognized leaders in their fields, and increasing sources of funding for scholarly research. These three factors have a symbiotic relationship, and when one element is raised, the others naturally follow. Taking full advantage of this interdependence creates an opportunity too rich to ignore.
One of the greatest assets that UConn has is its graduates. UConn has an opportunity to capitalize on this asset by finding new and creative ways of connecting with and engaging its alums. All alums can serve as ambassadors for UConn and promote the mission and wellbeing of our University. We must seize the opportunity to enlist the help of our alums to support UConn’s fundraising activities, assist current students through various mentoring and guidance efforts, and provide jobs and career opportunities for other graduates.
UConn has a tremendous opportunity to draw on its strengths and history of excellence to sustain it in these difficult times and to propel it into the future. We can continue on the path to greatness by addressing the issues that confront UConn and making the most of the opportunities placed before us. With the work of dedicated individuals, we can assure that UConn lives up to its full potential. It would be an honor and a pleasure to serve as an Alumni Trustee to be a part of ensuring that UConn reaches that potential.
Ezra J. Okon ’10 (BUS)
Our nation’s education landscape is changing; public universities are compellingly positioned, but also experience significant challenges. I believe my hundreds of hours of University service each year (I’ve consulted for or advised the Business School, the Werth College, Athletics, the Foundation, the CFO’s office, and hundreds of students), and my experience at one of the world’s top strategy consulting firms make me the right candidate to help navigate this environment.
- Boston Consulting Group, Project Leader
- Adeo Health Science, Interim COO
- United Technologies, Corporate Strategy and Development
- Founder and advisor, UConn Consulting Group (2014-Present). Daily involvement:
- Lead consulting projects (with student advisees) for various University departments (Athletics, Foundation, CFO)
- Created new recruiting pipelines to top companies (Bain, BCG, McKinsey)
- Developed advanced training programs for top UConn students
- Consolidated new alumni network with daily interaction with students
- Developed high-intensity career prep program to prepare students for top jobs
- School of Business Dean’s Advisory Cabinet (2018-Present)
- Werth College Adviser (2018–Present)
- Center for Studies on Private and Entrepreneurial Finance Adviser (2017-Present)
- Visiting lecturer for several courses within the School of Business
- YearUp mentor
- Habitat for Humanity
- Harvard Business School, MBA (2015)
- University of Connecticut, B.S., Finance (2010) – Honors program
- 2010 UConn School of Business Hall of Fame, Student Fellow
- First Year Honors, Harvard Business School
I believe I am the right candidate because:
- I deeply understand how the University works, having personally completed consulting projects for many University departments
- I have spent hundreds of hours leading volunteer consulting projects for the Foundation, Athletics, and the CFO’s office over the past 5 years
- I sit on the School of Business Dean’s Advisory Cabinet and also function as an adviser for the Werth College of Entrepreneurship
- As an undergraduate, I led six different student organizations, many governing the inner workings of UConn
- Sat on the Student Fee Approval Board, directing all of the funds provided by student fees
- Ran UCTV, one of the largest student organizations on campus (with one of the largest fee-funded operating budgets)
- Founded several case competitions, leading to long-term relationships and employment with several large companies
- Founded and/or held leadership positions in the UConn Consulting Group, Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity, UConn Tennis Club, UConn Ballroom Dance Team, and several others
- I know the students and alumni: I contribute daily to student groups on campus, and have built an organization to allow other young alumni do the same
- I interact daily with current UConn students through my role with the UConn Consulting Group, whether through our Slack channel, ad-hoc lectures, formal curricula, or 1:1 phone calls or texts
- I am heavily involved with recruiting new successful alumni to be alumni mentors of this program
- I understand the challenges that large organizations face, as well as deep visibility into the needs of the University’s biggest industrial customers
- As a consultant at one of the top strategy firms, I have visibility to, and experience solving, the major challenges that large organizations face
- Many of my clients are the largest employers in the Northeast, and the country, allowing me to anticipate their needs and help the University better serve our industry customers
- My company (and specifically, the office I am in) is a leader in developing perspectives on educational strategy and change, including strategies for large universities
- I have been deeply involved in understanding the landscape of education through my work at UConn but also outside of it, culminating in a recent offered a Director of Product Personalization role at one of the largest higher education content providers
- As a consultant at one of the top strategy firms, I have visibility to, and experience solving, the major challenges that large organizations face
- I have been driving board-level change for the last 10 years, both at one of the largest employers in Connecticut and as a consultant for many of the largest employers in the Northeast and the country
- I serve C-Suite clients at the country’s largest companies as a strategy consultant at Boston Consulting Group; I’ve led many projects to resolve issues similar to the ones UConn faces
- My education (Finance at UConn and MBA at Harvard) is focused on strategic decision making in large organizational settings
Our nation’s education landscape is changing. Public universities are compellingly positioned, but also experience significant challenges. The University of Connecticut faces several pressing issues that are common to many other public universities:
State funding has declined, and will likely continue to decline
With state funding declines, the University is faced with the challenge of raising new revenues (from charitable gifts, research grants, higher tuitions, and raised revenues from auxiliary services), or to restructure costs and services provided. Additional funds and improved cost management are required to maintain the high level of service our community expects.
The value proposition of higher education is being questioned
With rising costs, the value proposition of higher education is in question; a degree is becoming untenable return-on-investment for the salaries of many post-graduate opportunities to support. Alternative educational opportunities through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), trade schools, or the promise of immediate employment are luring students away from traditional four-year degrees.
Technology is disrupting the traditional higher education model
With extremely high fixed costs, large institutions are required to continuously maintain high service volume (student enrollment, research output, and medical services) to continuously pay for those assets. UConn’s continued investments in new facilities have increased the attractiveness of the brand and the ability to serve our traditional customers, but have also increased the productivity we must squeeze out of those assets to be financially viable.
With MOOC, distance degrees, and on-the-job learning all competing for the attention of our customers, UConn must be willing to adapt new models to keep the value proposition competitive.
Major employers are leaving, or decreasing focus, on Connecticut
United Technologies is likely moving its headquarters to Massachusetts after a merger with Raytheon. GE, Bristoll Myers, Stag, and Alexion have moved, or are moving headquarters. Employment struggles at UBS, RBS, and ESPN are signs of weakening demand for higher education in Connecticut.
The demand for talent in the state may decrease, and UConn must be the leader in keeping students and businesses in the state to provide economic growth and support and also provide expanded capabilities to ensure students are competitive outside of the state if necessary.
Because I am running for one of the two alumni spots, exposure to the University is critical for this position – I’ve spent thousands of hours doing volunteer consulting work and student development for the University, and have daily interaction with current students
While I am on the School of Business Dean’s Advisory Cabinet and am an adviser to the Werth Center, my most significant UConn experience has come from the ~500 hours/year I spend as a founding advisor of the UConn consulting group:
- I’ve led many consulting projects with the students, including many for the university:
- One project for the Foundation
- Two projects for Athletics
- One project for the CFO’s office
- I interact daily with students on our student/alumni slack channel, as well as calls, presentations, classes, as the group needs
- I’ve helped develop the group into one of the most successful advanced career placement opportunities and one of the strongest alumni networks on campus
- I consistently recruit new young successful alumni to improve the quality of the education and mentorship for our students
My business education and experience is a perfect fit for the strategic requirements of the university board
The board of a public university is required to make strategic decisions which set the direction for the future of the university. From my education (Finance at UConn and MBA at Harvard) to my work experience (Strategy and Development for United Technologies, and a strategy consultant for BCG – one of the world’s top strategy consulting firms), I believe I have the experience to add value to the board.
I’ve spent the last 10 years of my career advising the C-suite and boards of some of the country’s largest organizations. Many of my clients have experienced similar challenges to the ones UConn faces à decreasing funding, quickly changing value propositions in the market, high fixed costs, disparate demand, and higher expectations for service.
I’ve helped solve these issues at all of my clients, and am excited to carry that experience to help the University at a board level (in addition to my ongoing work with UConn Consulting Group).
Matthew S. Necci
Glastonbury, CTGiven Connecticut’s economic realities, UConn faces tremendous challenges. I believe the University’s best chance to sustain its excellence and upward trajectory is to increase the number of alumni that remain in Connecticut after graduation, and increase engagement among existing alumni. The relationships I’ve developed in corporate and young professional communities throughout Connecticut can assist the University in ensuring we retain our talented graduates, which will inherently increase support for UConn.Professional
- Halloran & Sage, LLP – Attorney/Equity Partner
- Liaison between UConn and Riverfront Recapture for development and marketing of Riverfront Recapture’s “Big Mo” event held at UConn’s new Hartford campus
- Participant in UConn’s video marketing plan to promote the new Hartford campus;
- Liaison between Hartford City Council and UConn’s athletic department relating to installation of University banners throughout downtown Hartford’s entertainment district;
- Worked with UConn Provost’s Office to create programming for the Connecticut Bar Association, focusing on issues of diversity and First Amendment rights on college campuses
- Athletic Department donor and season ticket holder
- Member of the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Connecticut
- Member of the Board of Directors for Leadership Greater Hartford
- Member of Hartford Hospital’s Board of Corporators
- Member of Board of Corporators for City of Hartford’s iQuilt Plan
- University of Connecticut, B.A. – History & Journalism
- New York Law School, J.D.
- Hartford Business Journal – Forty Under 40 (2016)
- Connecticut Law Tribune – New Leaders in the Law (2014)
- Super Lawyers Magazine – Rising Star (2013-2016)
Like all of the very qualified candidates for the UConn Board of Trustees alumni position, I am incredibly passionate about my alma mater. It’s not hyperbole to say the University is home for me. I want UConn to thrive in all things, and firmly believe that I can assist an already talented board in continuing to grow the University’s national profile in the academic, research, and athletic arenas.
By way of background, while at UConn I majored in History and Journalism. I was a member of the school’s club rugby team and also was a staff writer for the sports department at the Daily Campus, covering UConn’s men’s hockey and the men’s and women’s swimming programs. After graduating I moved to New York City for three years to pursue a law degree.
Since leaving Storrs, I have remained highly involved with the University. I have spent a significant amount of time working with the UConn Foundation and UConn Hartford’s administration to increase the University’s profile in the Greater Hartford community, particularly among young professionals, in anticipation of the school’s move of its West Hartford campus to downtown Hartford. I’ve attended and promoted the UConn Foundation’s Science Salon events, and also took part in the University’s “New York’s Six Borough” campaign, participating in the alumni photo shoots in New York City. Most recently, I served as a liaison between UConn and Riverfront Recapture for the latter’s “Big Mo'” event that took place at the new UConn Hartford campus in May 2017. My family is incredibly passionate about UConn sports, and I am a season ticket holder for football, men’s basketball, men’s hockey, and women’s soccer. My wife and I live in Glastonbury, Connecticut with our two daughters.
Professionally, I am an equity partner and litigator at Halloran & Sage, LLP, a full service law firm that has been based in downtown Hartford for almost 85 years. Outside my practice, I have actively served on a variety of non-profit boards for the last ten years. Currently, I am on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Connecticut and Leadership Greater Hartford. I also serve on the Board of Corporators for the Metro Hartford Alliance and City of Hartford’s iQuilt Plan relating to the redevelopment of downtown Hartford. Additionally, I serve as a member of the Board of Corporators for Hartford Hospital, and serve on the Executive Committee for the hospital’s Young Leaders Advisory Council. Previously, I served on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Chapter of the March of Dimes, and have been a longstanding member of the Connecticut Bar Association, serving as the Chair of the Young Lawyers Section in 2015-2016.
I very much believe that UConn’s investment in downtown Hartford can be a catalyst to increase the University’s profile in the state of Connecticut, and will encourage others to make similar investments. Although UConn is moving a regional campus downtown, hosts dozens of athletic events at the XL Center, and has tens of thousands of alumni in the Greater Hartford region, our state’s capital is not known as a “UConn city” in the manner other national universities are in their respective state capitals. This can change, and must change if the University wants to increase engagement of alumni in Greater Hartford.
As a UConn Board of Trustees alumni nominee, I believe there are three primary issues that the University faces and must strategically address during the next four years. Each is a separate and distinct topic, but in some ways they are interconnected:
- The economic realities of Connecticut. There has been a sustained period of flat-line economic growth in the state, which has lead to budgetary issues for all state organizations. UConn is, in itself, a huge economic driver for Connecticut, and an international marketing machine for the state. It cannot be viewed as just another state agency. Constant efforts must be made to ensure that we can maintain appropriate budgeting levels that will allow us to sustain a Top 20 Public University ranking. If the University is not growing and constantly addressing its status in the market, it is more likely to be passed by competitors;
- Retaining talent. Although the University’s primary directive is to train and graduate students, UConn must work with Connecticut’s government to ensure that we are retaining the talented alumni we are putting into the market. The most viable way to guarantee long-term support of the University, its academics, and its athletics is to have a growing alumni base within Connecticut. These people comprise many of our primary donors, and they are voters that can contact legislators when University issues arise in Connecticut politics. “Students today, Huskies forever” is a fantastic motto, but it can’t just be words. We have to live it;
- Athletic Conference issues. I firmly believe that UConn should be a leading athletic department in any conference that it is a part of, including the American Athletic Conference. With that being said, UConn should also be cognizant of the ever changing world of NCAA athletics, and must continue to be proactive in addressing the issue of conference affiliation. The reality is that UConn’s tremendous growth in the academic realm over the last three decades is in large part due to the performance of the Department of Athletics. Its successes have lead to increased applications, higher admission standards, increased support from donors, and increased support from legislators. Athletics are an asset that must be protected in order to encourage investment in the University from both the private and public sectors.
I appreciate your consideration and ask that you contact me directly with any questions you might have concerning my interest in the Board of Trustees position.
Jeanine Armstrong Gouin
Durham, CTI feel deeply and passionately about giving back to the institution that not only provided me with an exceptional education, but that also gave me the foundation and confidence to step out into the world and succeed. My education at UConn led to a career that has afforded me challenges and opportunities I never could have imagined. Serving on the Board of Trustees would be a privilege and an honor.Professional
- Managing Director and Vice President, Milone & MacBroom, Inc. (1994-Present)
- Member of the Board of Directors
- Corporate Officer
- Director of Water Resources Engineering and Environmental Science
- Corporate liaison to Regional Offices in New York and Vermont
- School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Board Member, assisting with ABET accreditation, curriculum review, and capstone design reviews (1995-present)
- UConn Environmental Policy Advisory Committee, Alumni Representative, working on issues of sustainability, environmental stewardship, and conservation (2009-2012)
- Establishment of an Endowed Scholarship School of Civil & Environmental Engineering (2011)
- Fall Open House Keynote Speaker (2014)
- Invited Guest Lecturer
- Current employer of over 40 UConn graduates
- Martin Luther King Community Day of Service (2007-present)
- Lake Hayward Water Quality Improvement Committee
- UConn School of Engineering, BS Civil Engineering, 1987
- Magna Cum Laude
- Tau Beta Pi
- Chi Epsilon
- Who’s Who of American Colleges and Universities
- 2014 Induction into the UConn Academy of Distinguished Engineers
- 2017 Connecticut Technology Council’s Women of Innovation
As a graduate, a mom, and a business owner, I believe with all my heart that UConn is a remarkable institution. It is competitive; technologically superior; well respected across many industries; diverse; rigorous; affordable; led by dedicated individuals; and a place to grow, thrive, and launch lifetime careers. In a climate of intense academic and athletic competition, rising tuition costs, and record levels of college-bound high school grads, the opportunities for the University to grow in size, stature, and respect are tremendous.
UConn is a place where professors care; where they know their students by name; where they help those who are struggling, inspire students to work hard and stay determined, push and challenge students to grow and stretch, and celebrate successes. UConn is a place where extended families are formed.
The widespread recognition of UConn, in part due to its phenomenal basketball fame and due to its rise academically, celebrating six consecutive years among the top 25 public universities and a 2017 ranking of #60 among national universities, provides an incredible opportunity to capture the attention of exceptional students, faculty, and staff. Add the quintessential New England setting of the main campus, the safe environment, and the picturesque landscape, and there is a tremendous upside even for those who don’t watch basketball or subscribe to U.S. News & World Report. In my view, some of the brightest opportunities for the University of Connecticut include the following:
- Innovation – Finding new and creative ways to attract, retain, educate, and engage with students in a manner that is innovative.
- Research – Building upon the strong research-based education that UConn has fostered over decades to expand research opportunities and research funding
- Sustainability – Being a leader in the area of sustainability. UConn consistently gets high marks for its commitment to sustainability. This is extremely important to today’s student base and is also good business practice.
- Student Quality – UConn has the attention of extraordinarily high-caliber students. Continuing to break barriers and achieve national rankings will be reflected in the quality of UConn students.
- Diversity – Achieving diversity of students and faculty at UConn is an opportunity to attract greater talent across all backgrounds.
- Technology – Staying on the cutting edge of technology within and outside of the STEM fields will be essential to capturing the best minds.
- Investment in Career Success – Investment in UConn students after graduation. Their success is everyone’s success.
My UConn Connection
Since graduating from the University of Connecticut in 1987, I have maintained personal, professional, and philanthropic involvement with the University. Below is a summary of my relevant involvement:
- School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Board – In 1995, I became one of the first members of the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering Advisory Board, a position that I have held for 22 years. In that capacity, I have participated in numerous accreditations, helped set curriculum standards and programmatic direction, written white papers, and reviewed Senior Capstone Design projects. My membership on the Board has given me a front-row seat from which to watch UConn grow into the powerhouse it is today. Through my involvement on the Board, I have maintained a connection with the School of Engineering for more than 2 decades.
- Environmental Policy Advisory Committee – In 2009, I was invited to serve as the Alumni Representative of UConn’s Environmental Policy Advisory Council (EPAC), a position that I held until 2012. In addition to my participation on the Council at large, I served on technical committees in areas where I could contribute based on my technical, financial, and organizational background. One such example was my work with the Sustainability Committee, concluding with the development of A Guide to Sustainable Development at the University of Connecticut.
- Milone & MacBroom, Inc. Endowed Scholarship – After many years of being the recipient of some of the University’s finest talent, in 2011 my firm sponsored an endowed scholarship with the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Through that process, I have collaborated with the dedicated staff at UConn Foundation and have had the pleasure of getting to know each of our scholarship recipients.
- UConn Academy of Distinguished Engineers – In May 2014, I was indoctrinated into UConn’s Academy of Distinguished Engineers, an award that “honors exceptional engineering alumni whose careers are characterized by their sustained and exemplary contributions to the engineering profession through research, practice, education, policy, or service.” One of my most special memories was sharing this occasion with my 80-year-old parents.
- Open House Keynote Speaker – In fall 2014, I had the honor of being the keynote speaker as part of the UConn Fall Open House, addressing prospective students and parents at Jorgenson Auditorium. This event provided an opportunity to share my life experiences from the perspective of both a former UConn student and, at the time, a UConn parent.
- Family Legacy – My son, who has an IQ of 146 and garnered a 2300 on his SATs, was accepted to many top universities throughout the country, with substantial merit scholarship offerings. In the end, he came to his own decision that UConn was the right fit, graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering. This gave me the opportunity to experience UConn from a new perspective as a parent. In his time at UConn, I watched my smart but somewhat naïve and absent-minded son grow and succeed in ways we could not have imagined. That experience underscored for me the tremendous value of the State University system.
- Guest Lecturer – On numerous occasions, I have been invited to guest lecture to UConn students, including most recently in February, when I presented to the 2017 Senior Capstone Design Class. My favorite aspect is always the Q&A interaction with the students.
- Mentorship – Through the years, my firm has provided mentorship through job shadows, paid internships, and sponsorship of the Senior Capstone Design teams. We are currently hosting a rising UConn freshman in a 3-week shadowing program. In several weeks, we will welcome a new UConn summer intern and three new full-time UConn grads.
- Employment – As an employer, I have hired dozens of UConn graduates in engineering, environmental science, natural resources management, landscape architecture, and communications. At last count, there were 40 of us, and that number is growing. These individuals demonstrate strong technical foundations and a practical understanding that allows them to assimilate quickly and advance in short order. UConn has become a mainstay for our Connecticut-based firm. Additionally, UConn alumni currently manage our Springfield, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine, regional offices.
- Professional Consultation – With my firm, I have provided professional consultation to UConn on numerous projects through the years, including the long-needed additional source of drinking water supply to the Storrs campus; Bioscience Connecticut at the UConn Health Center in Farmington; and design and construction oversight of a new wastewater pumping station, among others.
My most important role in my past service to the University and how has it prepared me to serve on the Board of Trustees
I have experienced several roles in my past service to the University, but perhaps the most rewarding one and the one that best demonstrates preparation for serving on the Board of Trustees occurred in my capacity of assisting the University to secure a supplemental source of drinking water for the Storrs campus.
For many years, the University struggled to meet peak water demands, particularly when students first returned in the late summer, often during times of low precipitation or drought conditions, high temperatures, and high volumes of visitors, with parents and siblings joining to assist in the move back to college.
UConn is unique in that it serves as its own water utility. It derives its supply of water from the Fenton and Willimantic River wellfields, which draw upon the stratified drift aquifers associated with the adjacent rivers. In 2005, following a prolonged drought coupled with high water demands at the University, the Fenton River near the UConn wellfield completely dried up. This was an operational and political nightmare for the University and drew a great deal of public criticism. The end result is that pumping at the Fenton River wellfield must now be curtailed and even shut down when river flows reach specific trigger levels, placing an even greater burden on the University’s water supply system.
In 2006, the University retained my firm to evaluate its water and wastewater needs, culminating in a 50-year Water and Wastewater Master Plan that was published in 2007. I served as the project manager, working with a team of engineers and scientists within my organization and within the UConn Facilities group and senior leadership. As I have done throughout my career, when we have the opportunity to work with the University, I make it a point to become personally involved because to me, it is personal. And while the volume of work associated with UConn is small in comparison to our annual workload, these are intensely important projects. Practicing my field in the very place where I trained to be an engineer is extremely rewarding.
In 2008 to 2010, my firm undertook comprehensive analysis of the Willimantic River to determine its capacity to thrive alongside the UConn wellfield. In that same time frame, we assisted with the evaluation, permitting, and design of the reclaimed water facility. In 2011, my team completed the University’s 50-year comprehensive Water Supply Plan, and in 2012 and 2013, we conducted an Environmental Impact Evaluation under the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act to determine the best course of action to provide a long-term, safe, reliable drinking water supply to the Storrs campus. Finally, in 2014, we assisted UConn in procuring the necessary regulatory permits to construct and operate a water supply interconnection that will serve the University’s drinking water needs for many decades into the future and enable the planned growth associated with NextGen. Today the pipes are physically in the ground, and service will be in place for the coming academic year. The journey of working from crisis to final success has been transformative.
I chose this as my most important role in my past service to the University because it allowed me to personally practice my trade and apply my education and experience toward the future growth and success of UConn. The elements of this role that have served as preparation to serve on the Board of Trustees include the following:
- Financial Realities – The financial realities of a public university are ever present in the approach to fixing engineering problems as they are in most facets of operating a large, diverse, public institution like the University of Connecticut. The financial elements of the water system solution required consideration of multiple alternatives to meet the fiscal responsibility burden and develop sustainable, cost-effective solutions.
- Community and Political Climate – The citizenry of the Town of Mansfield is highly engaged, at times great supporters and at times combative and at odds with the goals and mission of the University. Through many public informational sessions, informal communications, and formal public hearings, I have gained an understanding and appreciation of the local climate surrounding the UConn main campus and at the Avery Point, West Hartford, Hartford (Law), and the UConn Health Center campuses.
- Regulatory Climate – While the University is not subject to local regulations, meeting the burden of state and federal requirements is a critical element of many major facilities improvements and expansions, particularly when they affect ecological resources, watercourses, or involve public health. My work in procuring regulatory permits on behalf of the University has provided insight that would benefit other similar endeavors that may be considered by the Board of Trustees.
- Contractual Climate – Having worked alongside University architects, design teams, and program managers, I have gained an understanding and appreciation for the contractual climate as well as important ethical obligations that must be carried out with integrity, transparency, and attention to proper process and detail.
- Board of Trustees – On one or two occasions in the distant past, I have presented technical findings to the UConn Board of Trustees. This experience has given me insight to the Board and its function.
My role in assisting the University solve a compelling and decades-long problem, working through technical, financial, political, contractual, and regulatory challenges, has provided an important context and understanding that I believe would serve the Board of Trustees if I were to be selected to serve. I never imagined when I was taking classes in physics, calculus, and fluid mechanics that one day I would be in a position to apply that knowledge at the very place where I was learning these fundamental lessons.
Pressing Issues Facing UConn
In the current economic state of Connecticut and the rising costs and competition for excellent faculty and excellent students, one of the most pressing issues facing the University in my view is one of financial challenge. Maintaining competitive costs for students and families while excelling in academics, athletics, and physical infrastructure is challenging to be sure.
Finances play a major role in attracting and retaining high-quality faculty and staff, particularly when the competition includes private, well-endowed institutions that pay top dollar for sought-after talent. It does not help that Connecticut is a tax-rich, expensive state in which to live. My experience coming from a price-competitive unendowed service industry, however, is that money is not everything to all people. For many, culture, pride in work, and the knowledge that one is making a difference in others’ lives outweigh the bottom line of a salary. These cultural attributes do not occur in an organization without attention, purposeful action, and tenacity. Part of the challenge and the solution will be finding the right fit and effectively conveying the University’s mission to prospective faculty.
Finances also dictate viable education choices for many prospective students. Maintaining competitive tuition rates must be balanced with budgetary realities and constraints. Neither of my children selected the least expensive option for college. I am blessed with hard-working, conscientious children who have made good choices, including choosing to apply themselves academically. Having experienced the college selection process with two very different teenagers – different genders, intended majors, and polar-opposite personalities – I know that there are a great many factors that come into play in selecting a college, cost being one of them. UConn, like all other institutions, conveys its own unique personality to prospective students. The energy of the current student population, the news coverage locally and nationally, the academic accolades, the course offerings, and the physical environment matter to a 17- or 18-year-old, and they matter to their parents. Cost is important, but notwithstanding real-life constraints, there are opportunities for UConn to stand out and garner excellent students. Doing so while maintaining competitive tuition rates will continue to be a challenge.
Finally, finances play a crucial role in building and maintaining an interesting, functional, beautiful campus environment. UConn 2000 and 21st Century UConn provided extensive funding that has helped build a brand through architecture, style, and massing. Maintaining that momentum to continue to build exceptional facilities through UConn NextGen and beyond is both an opportunity and a challenge.
There is a growing focus in the news, in high schools, and at the dinner table on the growing student loan debt, putting the value of higher education on trial. Growing and changing with a changing society will continue to be a challenge for UConn, as will developing policies, strategies, and creative solutions to ensure that UConn students outpace other universities in their ability to not only enter the workforce but to excel within it.
Finally, in this digital age, staying current, convenient, and relevant in the marketplace will likely pose challenges. In the 1980s, a UConn student in need of a computer walked to the Computer Center. Today, on-line programs and digital degrees are growing in number, recognition, and quality. Finding the balance between quality education and keeping ahead of the technological curve will likely be one of the challenges facing UConn into the future.
Managing Director with 30 years of professional experience and significant executive leadership accomplishments. Strong diplomatic skills and a natural affinity for cultivating relationships, facilitating small and large work groups, and building consensus among diverse individuals. Applies qualities of integrity, respect, strong work ethic, sound judgment, and dedication to all endeavors.
- Problem Solving
- Engineering Analysis
- Capital Improvement Projects
- Contract Negotiations
- Organizational Strategy
- Program Management
- Strategic Planning
- Project Management
- Financial Management
Managing Director | Vice President of Water Resources Engineering and Environmental Science
1/1994 – Current
Milone & MacBroom, Inc.
- Leads a 10-member Board of Directors and 21 Associate owners of a $24M/year corporation in the practice of engineering, landscape architecture, planning, and surveying
- Serves as the lead Director for strategic business planning, workload projections, and staffing forecasting
- Oversees the technical practice group of Water Resources Engineering and Environmental Science in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York
- Serves as the Corporate Secretary, responsible for resolutions, board meetings, and all corporate certifications
- Participates in industry surveys on salaries and employee recruitment and retention
- Serves as corporate liaison to Human Resources, vetting all corporate policies and practices, developing companywide wellness program, and overseeing health care benefits program
- Monitors outcomes and business metrics relative to utilization, efficiencies, and profit
- Contributes to annual budget audit reports and material business decisions, meeting legal and fiduciary responsibilities
- Partners with other board members to ensure that board resolutions are carried out
- Serves on committees and task forces, taking on special assignments
- Chairs a monthly Associates Forum and mentors junior Associate owners
- Advances corporate culture initiatives throughout six offices
- Conducts facilitated workgroups and meetings with interest groups, professional organizations, nonprofit organizations, and the public
- Regularly presents technical information and analysis at community meetings and public workshops aimed at engaging stakeholders and consensus building
- Promotes team building and leadership
- Instrumental in a six-fold corporate growth and expansion into five additional states
- Recognized throughout the Northeast as an expert in river restoration, flood analysis and mitigation, water supply development, and environmental management
- Directed extensive post-disaster response efforts following Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Super Storm Sandy in 2012
- Responsible for establishing the Milone & MacBroom, Inc. Civil Engineering Endowed Scholarship at the University of Connecticut
- Advocate for women in STEM fields, providing opportunities for young women entering the workforce in the fields of science and engineering
- Developed a widely-adopted protocol for drinking water supply planning in Connecticut through a blending of community planning and buildout analysis, traditional engineering, and computer modeling of reservoir yield; developed what has become the template for such plans throughout the state; and was instrumental in drafting Connecticut regulations to formally implement the methodology
- Established an innovative approach and detailed methods for analyzing large-scale flooding issues, spanning entire towns, regions, and watersheds. This approach has been adopted by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and has become the standard requirement for new studies in the Catskills Region.
- Established an innovative management style and technique away from the traditional engineering approach to encompass multifaceted sciences to blend engineering, hydrology and hydraulics, and numerical methods with ecological science, the social sciences, landscape architecture, and community participation
- Pioneered two-dimensional hydrodynamic modeling, beginning in the late 1980s and applying it to wastewater assimilation in Long Island Sound, tidal wetland restoration along Connecticut’s coastline, hazard mitigation planning, and coastal resiliency
- Transformed the traditional engineering design-permit-bid-construction process through the integration of design, regulatory permitting, and informed construction implementation from project initiation through final closeout
Bachelor of Science – Civil Engineering, 1987
University of Connecticut; Storrs, Connecticut
- Magna Cum Laude
- Tau Beta Pi
- Chi Epsilon
- Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities
- American Society of Civil Engineers
- Board Member – UConn School of Civil & Environmental Engineering
- Former Member – UConn Environmental Policy Action Council
- 2014 Class of UConn’s Academy of Distinguished Engineers
- Young Professionals Organization/World Professionals Organization
- 2017 Connecticut Technology Council’s Women of Innovation Finalist
- Professional Licensed Engineer, State of Connecticut