Parents of Students and Recent Graduate Honored at Isenberg Celebration
June 21, 2016
“Isenberg interns and graduates at my company all have that Isenberg stamp—a work ethic that is better than the rest,” insisted Chuck Peters, who with his wife Karen Peters were principal honorees at Isenberg's 4th annual Business Leadership Awards Dinner on June 14. The gala alumni event at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston attracted 330 members of the Isenberg community.
Chuck is president/owner and Karen is vice president of administration of New England Wire Products in Leominster. The company manufactures customized product display racks for Home Depot, Walmart Staples, and many other customers. Chuck was a mechanical engineering student at UMass in the 1980s; Karen earned a degree in political science from the university in 1987.
Isenberg students and its graduates, Chuck noted, have excelled at New England Wire in accounting, purchasing, and other roles. That’s because, he emphasized, Isenberg and UMass, with their educational resources, internships, and opportunities for student leadership, are “like the real world.”
Chuck and Karen support Isenberg financially, remarked last year’s principal honoree, Denise Coll ‘75, who introduced them to the multigenerational alumni audience. “But the real proof of their belief in Isenberg has been to entrust their children to the school. Chuck and Karen belong to a special Isenberg community—parents of Isenberg students.”
To date, that includes three of the six Peters offspring. Kristin ’13, a finance graduate, is an asset management analyst with JP Morgan. Her recently graduated brother, Charlie ’16, a sport management major, runs one of the family’s factories. And their younger brother George ’18 is a hospitality and tourism management major.
Reflecting on the couple’s children, Karen Peters observed: “They are our greatest products. Having six kids is like being an entrepreneur. You plan the best you can and make decisions on the fly.” You do your best, she continued, to instill in them hard work and respect for others. They learn to negotiate, cooperate, and lead. An Isenberg education, she continued, develops all of those strengths. “For us, that “value and impact on our kids,” she said, “makes giving back to the school a no-brainer.
“Give what you can and help Isenberg students through your influence, advice, and internships,” Karen emphasized. “Send your kids and your grandkids to Isenberg!”
Reflections from a Recent Graduate
“My greatest lesson at Isenberg and UMass is that there is no such thing as a self-made person,” Recent Alumni Awardee Brian Tino ’11 told an enrapt audience. “It’s about you and me,” he emphasized. To illustrate his point, Brian credited many influences, including his parents, former professors Schewe and Agha, friends and fellow alumni Kyle Lawless ’12 and Derek Monson ’14, Gene ’50 and Ronnie Isenberg, Dean Mark Fuller, former undergraduate dean Carol Barr, and many others.
Brian is an enterprise account executive with the design collaboration firm, InVision. In that role, he helps corporations and agencies, including Fidelity, McKinsey and Spotify, to streamline their creative processes. Since graduating with a major in finance and with minors in IT and economics, he has been a role model for alumni involvement with Isenberg.
For five years, Brian has energized the school’s senior giving campaign as host of its annual Senior Trivia Night. He has hired dozens of Isenberg students for summer internships and has worked with Dean Fuller on exploratory development of a sales curriculum at the school. Teaming up with former Isenberg undergraduate dean Carol Barr, Brian has created a scholarship that recognizes exceptional student leadership.
“As a recipient of this award, I’ve been reflecting on leadership,” Brian told the gathering. “It’s not about grandiose displays but about helping others to achieve their goals. It’s about a well-timed smile; a reassuring nod. Those little things can prove so memorable, so impactful,” he remarked. In driving the driven, Isenberg instills that nuanced version of leadership “better than anyone else,” he emphasized. Raising his award plaque above his head, Brian walked the talk with his final message: “Everyone stand up and share this award with me!”
Keeping the Celebration on Course
The celebration’s emcee, Isenberg accounting graduate Margery Piercey ’84 deftly navigated the program’s itinerary. An Audit Head and shareholder with Wolf & Company, Margery recalled her own formative years at Isenberg and its recent spectacular rise in national rankings. Some things don’t change, she said: “We go the extra mile and we are driven.”
UMass Amherst’s Athletic Director, Brian Bamford also spoke, praising the “Isenberg model” as a paragon on campus for building “success, sustainability, and pride.” “Nobody is more aspirational on this campus than Dean Fuller,” he insisted.
Motivation from the Dean
The evening’s honorees personified what Dean Fuller, in his energizing remarks, described as “Stage Two of Isenberg’s Master Plan.” Stage Two will require passionate alumni engagement, he insisted. “We need everybody involved.”
Under Fuller’s leadership, Isenberg has made significant strides in building its brand, its national reputation, and value for its students. In Businessweek’s current rankings, Isenberg was the top public business school in New England and ranked 11th nationally among the publics. In the Financial Times’ survey of Online MBA programs, Isenberg ranked 9th in the world.
This September, Isenberg will break ground for a new state-of-the-art building with more than 1,000 students and alumni on hand. It will be a vivid touchstone of Stage Two, “where we want a seat at the table with the very best public business schools in the nation.” Help us secure that status, he told the gathering. “When you come back to this celebration next year, bring others with you. Join us in this remarkable journey.”
Chuck and Karen Peters are President/Owner and VP of Administration of their family-owned business New England Wire Products. As part of a "UMass family" Chuck and Karen encouraged their children to attend Isenberg and so far 3 of the 6 have made Isenberg and UMass their home. The Peters are business leaders as well as great supporters of the school.