Successful Executive to Chair Leadership Council and Encourages Fellow Alumni to Get Involved
An accomplished business executive who has led global companies through change and challenge to profitable growth will be leading the College of Business Leadership Council, formerly known as the Board of Advocates, as the incoming chair. Steve Zirkel’s impressive resume includes more than two decades of executive experience for the Fortune 500 company Owens Corning at branches located around the globe. His most recent executive position has brought him back to the U.S. as the new vice president of marketing, sales, and commercial excellence for Algeco Scotsman, a global leader of modular space, secure portable storage solutions, and remote workforce accommodation management.
The Leadership Council Zirkel will chair consists of successful alumni who advise the dean on curricula, alumni affairs, student mentorship, internships/co-ops, job placement, and faculty engagement with industry. Zirkel (’84) states how BGSU prepared him for his executive roles. “The entire University experience prepared me for my business career from the classes, to the organizations, to the specials events. When I reflect on my four years at BGSU, the class work was only part of the equation. The opportunity to get involved with organizations, other leaders and learn was very important.”
Zirkel credits his BGSU resident advisor, Clark Bowers, for getting him engaged early in his college career by suggesting Zirkel join the Resident Student Association. After one year of participation, he was elected president of that organization. Zirkel describes the value of his leadership experiences. “Our executive team of this organization reworked the constitution, funding, office locations and participation on campus. What a great experience. After that, I was the VP for Academic Affairs for the Undergraduate Student Government and then the student representative on the Faculty Senate. All of these organizations allowed me to learn from others, evolve my leadership skills, understand how to make recommendations, and gain engagement and support for ideas.”
The trigger which led to his decision to get involved with the College of Business more than six years ago was a former business professor. “When I moved back from a leadership role running a business in the United Kingdom, I read an article in ‘BGSU Magazine’ by a former BGSU professor, Dr. Vinod Jain. His desire was to position BGSU College of Business students as relevant in the international business community. I called him, we met, and I become involved. While I had competing priorities with family, business and personal life, I felt the need to give back to my university. Then when I moved to Asia to run that business, it was a challenge to stay connected to BGSU. Upon my return, I reached out to the dean of the College at that time, Dr. Rodney Rogers, who wanted to grow the reputation of the College of Business and enhance student success. I became more involved and have continued to work with current Dean Ray Braun to take the College and students to the next level. The best decision I made was to chair the Leadership Council.”
So what does Zirkel hope to accomplish as the chair? “I desire to have BGSU College of Business students be recognized as the very best. This will take a dedicated team of alumni that support the success of the students. We have accomplished alumni who are involved in the College and have valuable experiences to share. We also have many successful alumni that have so much to offer students in the way of real-world learnings that could become more involved. We need to tap that knowledge and drive faster real-world learning for our students.”
Zirkel adds, “This is an exciting time to be a College of Business student and even more exciting as an alumnus to help move the agenda forward. I would not be where I am today without the foundations of academics and leadership gained from being involved at BGSU. The more involved I became, the more I realized the involvement in the College of Business not only helps students but has helped me in my career.” He encourages more alumni to get involved in the College. Zirkel asks, “What is stopping you?”