October 30, 2006

Alumnus gives $250,000 for engineering leadership

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale's College of Engineering will use a $250,000 gift from an alumnus and long-time supporter to implement an engineering leadership program.

Advanced Technology Services Inc., which provides managed services for production equipment maintenance, industrial parts repair and IT infrastructure support for manufacturers, announced the establishment of "The Blaudow — ATS Program for Technical Leadership In Manufacturing." The program, which is funded by Peoria-based ATS founder, chairman and CEO Richard W. Blaudow and his wife, Brigitte, is designed to discover and educate the next generation of technical leaders who have the charge of sustaining and strengthening the future of American manufacturing.

The donation provides scholarship support and on-the-job technical internships for community college graduates enrolled in the college, Dean William P. Osborne said.

Blaudow earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering technology from SIUC in 1970.

The scholarship and internships focus on strengthening the future of the nation's manufacturers, Blaudow said.

"You can't grow a business without leadership, managers and supervisors," he said. "We need to get to these kids and make them aware of the manufacturing opportunities that are out there."

The gift will have "a truly transformational effect" on the college and its programs, Osborne said.

"Brigitte and Dick Blaudow's gift will provide the college with a major new program designed to improve our enrollment by bringing leaders to the college who will attract others," Osborne said. The gift moves the college closer to the halfway point of its $6.2 million capital campaign goal, which is part of the University's "Opportunity Through Excellence: Campaign for Southern."

The college is recruiting students for the program, which begins in fall 2007.

"We are delighted that Brigitte and Dick decided to make this commitment to the college," said Rickey N. McCurry, SIUC's vice chancellor for institutional advancement and CEO of the SIU Foundation.

Noting that Blaudow is a former member of the SIU Foundation Board and former chair of the Engineering Equipment Campaign, McCurry said it is "very fitting this gift would be directed toward leadership."

Blaudow "has always been a trailblazer and a pacesetter," McCurry said. "This gift is another demonstration of Brigitte and Dick's willingness to lead the way. Their commitment represents one of the largest gifts to the Opportunity Through Excellence Campaign. We are grateful to them for their dedication and leadership and we hope others will follow their lead."

A native of Seymour, Blaudow graduated from Mahomet-Seymour High School in 1964.

SIUC "was a wonderful experience for a farm boy from central Illinois to go down there and go to school. As I look back on it, I remember how hard it was to get through school," said Blaudow, who worked his way through college. "Those memories are great, and it was that foundation that allowed me to ultimately start and grow our business. It's time for me to give back."

Blaudow began in the plant operations training program at Caterpillar in 1969. He spent 17 years working with manufacturing production equipment, including starting and managing the company's electronic repair department in its East Peoria plant. That was the genesis for ATS, which began as a spin-off company in April 1985. In May, the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals recognized ATS as one of the world's top 100 outsourcing providers.

The company employs more than 1,500 people, has five branch offices and more than 150 customer-site locations in the U.S. and Mexico.

Richard and Brigitte Blaudow live in Key Colony Beach, Fla.

SIUC built "a foundation for success" for Blaudow and his wife, Blaudow said. He is confident "that by working with SIUC on this program we can make a substantial impact in grooming the manufacturing industry's future leaders."

The SIU Alumni Association recognized Blaudow as a Distinguished Alumni in 1998.

Cultivating relationships with alumni and private industry is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.


Dick Blaudow

Dick Blaudow