James Nordmeyer doesn't take his Rose-Hulman education for granted. He grew up in Batesville, Indiana, as the youngest of seven siblings, and was the first to attend a four-year university. A highschool counselor suggested that he would make a good engineer. "I was always interested in chemistry, and chemical engineering became a major of choice."
   A summer internship with B.F. Goodrich led to a full-time offer upon graduation in 1978, and he helped the company develop processes to manufacture ultraclean polymers. Corporate growth and change yielded lots of interesting opportunities, helping start a facility in Ohio and turning around a struggling polymer operation in Australia.
   When Nordmeyer returned to the U.S., Goodrich's chemical operation had taken the name Geon, and he helped implement common business systems when the company merged with M.A.
Hanna Company. He helped the new firm, PolyOne, expand its textile printing ink business to China and Europe. Then, his supply chain and business process expertise led him to his present role as global vice president of business process systems for Fortune 500 glass container manufacturer Owens-Illinois (O-I).
   The journey has been "a great ride," but Nordmeyer notes that "30 years ago, doing supply-chain work and globalbusiness processes would have been the furthest thing from my mind. Doing pure science-I haven't done that since I left Australia."
    Nevertheless, he still applies the same problem-solving abilities learned at Rose-Hulman, and tells today's students that they will use those same skills "in many ways…ways you haven't thought of." For instance, Nordmeyer is now helping O-I determine how business processes are positively impacting various elements of
its corporate strategy.
   Strategic planning at Rose-Hulman is not all that different, he believes: "What are the things that Rose-Hulman is doing that are going to move strategic elements forward?" Perhaps the most important thing, he says, "is to continue providing the real hands-on education that I received and current students receive. Rose-Hulman students are head andshoulders above the rest in their ability to take on challenges, because they get a reallife experience from their professors."
   Nordmeyer has enjoyed giving back to his alma mater by serving the past year as Alumni Association President and joining the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity's chapter housing corporation board. He also cherishes time spent with his wife and family-along with cycling, a hobby he started in 1977 and now he covers several thousand miles a year.