Graduate enjoys personal mentorship from former VP of Welch Foods

September 23, 2022

What’s it like to have a former vice president of Welch Foods, Inc., personally mentoring you after college graduation?

Drew Boswell

Drew Boswell

“It’s been extremely advantageous,” Drew Boswell, BS IE ’22, says.

Boswell was one of the first industrial and manufacturing systems engineering students to take advantage of a new mentorship program that connects new graduates with highly successful alumni.

For Boswell, that means having personal support from David Engelkemeyer, BS IE ’73, who served as vice president of operations and technology at the global juice and fruit product company before becoming Chief Operating Officer at SmartPak, one of the largest equestrian supply companies in the country.

“Dave gives me tons of information I can use not just about school and work but life advice and inspiration to be successful,” Boswell said.

David Engelkemeyer

David Engelkemeyer

The IMSE mentoring program started last year to give graduates support as they navigate career opportunities after graduation. The idea stemmed from the IMSE Hall of Fame, a network of distinguished industrial engineering alumni.

“In the Hall of Fame group, we talk in general about how we can add value for the department and the College,” Engelkemeyer said. “If you look at the backgrounds of IMSE Hall of Fame members, there are incredible success stories. Most of these new graduates entered the IMSE program for the same reason we did, to blend business and engineering technology. As alumni, we have a lot to offer, so this seemed like a good opportunity to add some value to the program.”

Engelkemeyer and Boswell keep in touch via Zoom and text messaging. This past summer, Boswell even sent his mentor photos as he backpacked across Europe before starting the MBA program at Mizzou.

Boswell ultimately hopes to work at his family’s manufacturing company. But first, he’s decided to spend a few years working for a larger manufacturer to expand his skillset and professional network.

“Dave helped me lay out what I need to do and how I need to do it and what’s going to help me the most for my future,” Boswell said. “By working for a bigger company first, I can learn systems that make those corporations successful, then bring ideas to my family’s company and make improvements where needed.”

Engelkemeyer also helped him decide which courses to take to best meet his goal of eventually taking the reins of the family business.

For Engelemeyer, the path to the C-suite was a little less certain. He came to Mizzou Engineering as a first-generation college student from Hermann, Missouri. Mentors, he said, played a key role throughout his career, which included 20 years at Procter & Gamble and a stint as senior operations officer at Banta Corporation, one of the largest worldwide printing/supply chain companies that is now part of RR Donnelly.

Knowing the power of having that type of guidance, Engelkemeyer also currently mentors a new CEO and a vice president of a hospital, where he also serves on the board of trustees.

While he hopes his leadership and career background helps others succeed, Engelkemeyer stressed that mentoring is a two-way street.

“I’m glad Drew is getting something out of it,” he said. “I am, too. I’m probably getting as much out of it as he is.”

Join an engineering program that connects you with leaders in industry. Learn more about industrial and manufacturing systems engineering at Mizzou!