Purdue Technology Alumni Board votes in new members, renews commitments

PTAB's 2023 executives. From left to right: Kirti Chintalapudi (VP), Michael Johnston (president), Ram Ramisetti (secretary)

The Purdue Technology Alumni Board (PTAB), Purdue Polytechnic’s representative organization for graduates, has undergone a great deal of change lately.

In the beginning of July, a slate of newly-inaugurated board members began their terms. From this roster, only two members had served a prior term; the other nine are new to the board. This diverse collection of new members is part of an overall plan to spin up PTAB activities, reaching beyond the board’s most active years even before the COVID era.

Then, less than a month later, PTAB discovered a glut of qualified alumni and added nine additional members.

“The motivation for all of these members, new or old, is really to give back,” said Erin Perdue, the alumni engagement officer who has been central to redoubling PTAB’s efforts. “They have a lot of good will toward Purdue as a whole, and more specifically toward Purdue Polytechnic and on a personal level toward their specific degree program.”

The 20 current members of the board are:

  1. Michael Johnston (president) (BS 1991, organizational leadership)
  2. Kirti Chintalapudi (vice president) (BS 2015, industrial engineering technology)
  3. Ram Ramisetti (secretary) (MS 2019, construction engineering and management)
  4. Steve Wake (BS 1994, computer technology)
  5. Miki Ishikawa (BS 1998, computer graphics technology)
  6. Nick Haywood (former president) (BS 2006, professional flight technology)
  7. Joseph Lampinen (MS 2015, technology leadership)
  8. Elise Classen (BS 2020, supply chain management)
  9. Tomas Turriff-Ortega (BS 2022, industrial engineering technology, supply chain management)
  10. Jarred Porter (BS 2022, UX design)
  11. Carlos Simpson (BS 2016, organizational leadership)
  12. Leon A. Bogucki (BS 1997, mechanical engineering technology)
  13. Mark S LeMire (BS 1992, mechanical engineering technology)
  14. Laura Horsky (BS 2001, computer and network engineering technology)
  15. Adela Creasy (BS 2002, electrical and computer engineering technology)
  16. Sean Eckhart (BS 2007, industrial engineering technology and distribution)
  17. Cooper Grant Burleson (BS 2019, aeronautical engineering technology, MS 2020, aerospace management)
  18. Adam Ashouri (BS 2014, construction management technology)
  19. Ibidayo Awosola (MS 2019, computer and information technology, PhD 2023, technology leadership and innovation)
  20. Faizan Ali Siddiqi (BS, computer information technology)

The leaders

“We have a wide spread of ages. There are some very new alumni all the way to older, seasoned professionals in their fields,” Perdue stated.

Board President Michael Johnston has been in executive positions in a variety of different industries for at least 20 years, and currently serves as a president for Allina Health, a Minnesota-based nonprofit hospital system. His record at prior hospital networks is one of "consistent improvement in patient quality metrics and unit cost expense reduction."

Contrasted with Johnston’s decades of experience is PTAB’s Vice President Kirti Chintalapudi, a younger professional in the first stage of an already-productive career. After working for several companies including a stint as a program manager at Apple, Chintalapudi founded her company Hofintech which is a proprietary data management service.

Team dynamics and committees within PTAB

The balance between older and younger experts is one of the defining traits of the board as it currently stands, Perdue believes. “I really think each person on their own merits is a standout member, so things are even better once they’re together in the same room or working within smaller committees.”

Those committees are currently made up of a nominating group, member engagement, alumni relations and career development. “[Johnston] has rallied the whole group to encourage the formation of more committees based on member expertise and making productive use of everyone’s talents,” Perdue said.

Alumni relations and career development are the two most outward-facing committees on the current board. The former seeks to engage Purdue Polytechnic alumni directly by partnering with on-campus groups and clubs, as well as by collaborating with other alumni boards. The latter is “looking for every opportunity to get involved in helping current Polytechnic students make a better future for themselves”, Perdue stated.

Alfonso Morrell, student ambassador in mechanical engineering technology and now a representative in PTAB.

Student representation helps advance goals

Alfonso Morell, a current student in Purdue Polytechnic’s mechanical engineering technology program, is helping the board with this aspect of their mission statement. Morrell is a student ambassador that PTAB has brought on board as a representative for the Polytechnic student body.

“[Morell] came onboard after being voted in, because the board really wants to understand current students’ needs and what they can do for them,” Perdue said. “And it’s a two-way street – they also wanted to give a student the experience of being on a board and understanding what that was like.”

With Morell’s help, the board hopes to hone in on their bigger-picture goals, explained as “support[ing] Purdue Polytechnic, facilitat[ing] communication between the college and its alumni, provid[ing] programs for professional growth and enhanc[ing] alumni relationships.”

Perdue explained that the board knows it will need to grow its membership in order to chip away at its newfound goals. The current iteration of the board recently reviewed over 100 applicants and, the nominating committee narrowed it down to 12 interviewees who could potentially join PTAB.

Coming back to Purdue

As far as the experiences for newer members go, Perdue stated that most are enjoying a return to the university, whether they’re very recent grads or if it has been decades since they’ve been on campus.

“One thing that comes up during every in-person board meeting is how much the campus has developed,” Perdue said. “They really can’t believe it. … Between two of our meetings, Dudley and Lambertus Halls had gone up. So we had a fall meeting where they gave us a tour while it was under construction, and then in that spring semester we were holding the same meeting in the completed building.”

For some board members, PTAB has allowed them to reconnect to the campus in more ways than one. “We took the Boilermaker Special to the west end of campus during one meeting, and some of the more experienced members’ minds were really blown,” Perdue said. “When most of them were students, that part of campus was empty fields. And now we go out that way, and Discovery Park is there. You can really see the wheels turning – ‘Do I want to retire here?’”

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