Jim Hanrahan:Experiences in engineering, finance, and operations - a non-traditional career path and lessons learned
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Graduate Seminar: Sponsored by the student chapter of AIChE and SWE.
Jim Hanrahan graduated from Cornell in 1979 as a Chemical Engineer and has spent over 18 years in the engineering services business, including the last 9+ years in lead financial and operating roles.
After working for UOP Process Division for nine years in pilot plant development, technical field service and marketing, during which time he obtained his MBA at the University of Chicago, he changed jobs, moving from Chicago to Maryland to work for W.R Grace, a specialty chemicals company in a commercial development role. Two years later in 1990, he moved to the Allentown, PA area to work for an environmental services company in a financial and business development role. He worked his way through the financial ranks and in 1999 was named the operations lead, working in NYC and living in Madison, NJ. The company was sold in 2001, causing job loss and in 2002 he joined CDI Engineering Solutions as chief financial officer. From 2009 - 2011, at CDI he has focused on business acquisitions, integration of purchased businesses, and also running two different divisions.
This seemingly tortuous career path has resulted in a wide range of career experiences across engineering, finance and operations. Reasons for position changes, management observations, career and life experiences are the focus of the discussion for the audience. The talk will first focus on key experiences and the learnings that can be passed onto the Cornell class. Some of these topics will include: (1) Recognizing an Opportunity to Make a Difference, (2) Job Change: Re-creating Yourself and Understanding Transferable Skills, (3) Integrity in the Workplace, (4) The Long and Short of Your Reputation, (5) Setting Expectations by Managing Upward.
After discussing the lessons learned from these and other experiences, Jim will finish the talk by recapping selected career advice --- five to ten nuggets to remember as you initiate and proceed through the start of your professional career and your personal life beyond Cornell. Time will be allotted to answer questions.