Redefining the Classroom

Great Lake State Weekend 2013

Outstanding Alumnus

Tad Malpass '82

LSSU’s Alumni Association will recognize Tad Malpass ’82, East Jordan, with its highest honor -- the Outstanding Alumnus Award -- during Great Lake State Weekend, Nov. 8-10.

The award is presented to alumni who are successful in their careers and communities, and who support LSSU with their time, talent and treasure. Tad is being recognized for his work with LSSU’s Alumni Association and the LSSU Foundation, of which he was a board member, as well as his legacy with EJ Inc., formerly East Jordan Iron Works, a company that his great-grandfather started in 1883. The company is the world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of access solutions for water, sewer, drainage, telecommunications and utility networks worldwide.

Tad has donated to numerous campus activities, including the Gem of the North campaign to expand Taffy Abel Ice Arena, the Arts Center, numerous athletic teams and the LSSU Foundation’s unrestricted Development Fund. He is a current donor, and his lifetime giving puts him in the top tier of all alumni donors. He has been recognized by the university in the past, most notably with the Paul Ripley Young Alumnus Award in 1998.

Tad found LSSU to be a good fit when he was looking for a place to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering technology.

“Because I was from a small town and school, LSSU allowed me to feel connected due to its smaller size and culture of being concerned about individuals and not overall numbers of students,” he said. “It resulted in my feeling a part of the entire university, as opposed to just a smaller part of a larger one. I interacted with people and activities that maybe I otherwise wouldn’t have been involved in. I personally knew President Kenneth Shouldice, most of the professors, the coaches, players and staff members and some of their families. As a result, I tended to take more of an interest in everything going on at the campus.”

Tad lettered in all four of his years on the LSSU tennis team and ended up coaching the team during his final year. He was also a member of the Society of Mechanical Engineers.

“In addition to receiving a great education, my experience was made even more special by folks such as Mr. and Mrs. Bud Cooper, through my involvement with the tennis team; Prof. Richard Jennings, through my participation on the debate team; and by professors such as John Madl, James Moody and Gary Johnson, who not only made the classroom interesting, but also took a personal interest in me as well as their other students.”

Immediately upon receiving his BS MET degree in 1982, Tad went to work for EJ fulltime as a project engineer. Later, he assumed the role of handling environmental affairs and public relations, and eventually became vice president of industrial sales. When he retired, he was serving as executive vice president with overall responsibility for EJ’s human resources, public relations, government affairs and industrial sales departments. He continues to serve as a consultant to the company, and is a member of the company’s board of directors and its advisory board. He started working for the company in various jobs in the office and foundry while in junior high school and then high school, and he continued working there during summers while attending LSSU.

Tad represented EJ and the foundry industry as an active member on a number of boards and associations including, but not limited to: Gray Iron Founders Association, American Foundry Society, Foundry Association of Michigan, Northwest Michigan Industrial Association, Michigan Manufactures Association, National Association of Manufacturers, and Michigan State Chamber of Commerce.

Tad has also served on many boards and committees, including the Malpass Foundation, Charlevoix County Humane Society, Rotary Club of East Jordan, and Charlevoix County Business and Industry Task Force (now the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance). He received the conservationist of the year award for Charlevoix County in 1993.

“I sensed the support of the local community in being behind the university through its helpfulness and friendliness towards the college students,” Malpass said of his time at LSSU. “People such as Mr. and Mrs. Robert Champion, who were my landlords for four years and were just like family to me; Bill Matheson and Bucky Cook at Matheson’s Standard, where I purchased my gas and had my car worked on -- they could not have been more honest and considerate.  Also, 36 years later, Bill Oberman at Barish Brothers clothing store continues to take care of not only me, but my entire family now.

“I believe one of the biggest things you take away from LSSU is the personal relationships and    consideration you are given. Education and knowledge are certainly important in today’s workplace, but I believe equally as important, if not more so, is your ability to communicate, to get along with and care about the people you work with, and to motivate them. LSSU does an excellent job in preparing you not only scholastically, but also as a person. To this day, I still get a warm feeling whenever I am on campus.”

Tad and his wife, Brenda, have two children – Kirsten and Keegan.