Monthly Archive for February, 2017

Alumni Success Story – Kate Gadbois ’12

As a child, Kate’s family repeatedly told her she should be an attorney due to her exceptional ability to argue. At first, the length of schooling required turned her off. But thanks to her incredible professors and experience in DU’s paralegal program, Kate graduated in 2012 and went on to pursue her law degree. Now, she is working as an Associate Attorney with Kreis, Enderle, Hudgins & Borsos, P.C, specializing in corporate & business law and estate planning & probate. Learn more about Kate and her journey below.

Tell us about yourself!

I was born and raised in Grand Rapids. My family, mainly my mother, told me many times that I should be an attorney (apparently this suggestion came about because I mastered the talent of arguing at a young age).  Being an attorney sounded great, but the amount of schooling required deterred me.  After high school, I wasn’t sure what career path I wanted to pursue.  When I came to Davenport, one of my first classes was Introduction to Paralegal Studies, taught by Barb Craft.  The very first day of this class, I knew that the legal field was where I was meant to be.  I also knew that, after obtaining a bachelor’s degree, I would attend law school and become an attorney.  I graduated from Davenport in December of 2012 and started law school in January of 2013.  I am now living in Portage, working as an Associate Attorney with Kreis, Enderle, Hudgins & Borsos, P.C., a full-service law firm with four West Michigan locations in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, St. Joe, and Battle Creek.

Why did you pick Davenport? 

I picked Davenport because of its great reputation, small class sizes, experienced professors, hands-on practical opportunities, and its location.

As a graduate of DU, when you think of your experience what comes to mind?

The first thing that comes to mind: the amazing professors.  The legal professors were incredibly experienced, which to me, was invaluable.  Each specific story shared by a professor was memorable (and even better if also humorous) and these stories certainly helped me retain the concepts behind the stories.  My legal professors are not the only professors that come to mind. My accounting professor, Grant Lee, went above and beyond.  I have never had a professor who truly cared about their students in the obvious way Professor Lee cares about his.  Accounting was definitely not my strong suit (which is a fairly common joke among lawyers and their math-related skills), but Professor Lee made a world of difference.  I didn’t ace his class, but I made it through with a much better outcome than anticipated because of Professor Lee’s investment and encouragement.  I am confident that Professor Lee has positively influenced a large majority of his students, and I am grateful that I had him as my accounting professor.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

My main practice areas are corporate & business law and estate planning & probate.  I listen, analyze, strategize, anticipate potential issues and/or help guide clients through situations they may find themselves in, negotiate, counsel, and assist clients in achieving their goals.  I handle any and all business needs for any size or type of business. Whether it’s forming an entity; drafting, reviewing, or negotiating various types of contracts or forms; assisting with the purchase or sale of assets; acquiring companies, real estate, and everything in between; compliance; restructuring; succession planning; and any other business-related need.

Estate plans are essential for individuals and business owners. I assist clients in determining and addressing their specific needs, the needs of their family, and the future of the companies that they worked so hard to build.  This part of my job is rewarding because I am able to give my clients the peace of mind that they have taken the appropriate steps for their family and that their wishes will be followed.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

At this point in my life, I have to say that my biggest accomplishments include graduating, cum laude, from law school, passing the bar exam, and working, as an Associate Attorney, with Kreis Enderle – the firm I knew I wanted to be a part of a few years ago.

What is your dream job?

This is exactly what I want to be doing.  I love my career and the firm I am a part of.  Kreis Enderle is a great size law firm with exceptionally bright and experienced attorneys in each area of the law.  I could not ask for a better group of people to work with.  I worked in our Grand Rapids office, as an extern during law school, and I knew then that I would love to end up working, as an Attorney, with Kreis Enderle.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Positive thinking can have an enormous influence on your life – it’s a powerful tool that we all have the ability to control.  It is so beneficial to regularly think about the things in your life that you are thankful for; even more so when you find yourself in a frustrating situation.

Some additional good advice: be thankful for what you have & keep working for what you want tomorrow.

What are you are you passionate about?

I am passionate about and fascinated by the law.  I am passionate about helping people.  It is also probably safe to say that I am also passionate about animals.  If I see a stray animal, there’s no doubt I am stopping to try to help – I’ve done so too many times to count.  I’d want someone to do the same if it were my dog running loose in the street!

What do you do when you are not working?

I am still fairly new to the Kalamazoo area so a lot of my free time is spent exploring all that my new city has to offer, especially the restaurants!  I am looking forward to checking out the local farmers markets next summer.  Community involvement is very important to me.  I attend as many events as possible and I recently became a Board Member of Glass Art Kalamazoo!

Alumni Success Story – Pat McPherson ’06

From stump grinding to mopping factory floors, Pat McPherson ’06 has had some dirty jobs. But, thanks to his interest in IT, Pat pursued education at Davenport University where he earned his BS in Computer Networking. Now, Pat leads a team at ITS Partners as a senior sales engineer solving IT problems for clients all over the world. Learn more about Pat and his journey to ITS below.

Pat McPherson '06.png

Tell us about yourself, Pat!

I am from a little farm town called Lakeport, Michigan. Growing up my plan was to be a truck driver just like my dad. However, my high school received its first computers during my senior year and I fell in love. I took a few computer classes at the tech center where I learned Cisco and Oracle. After high school, I went to DU because of its reputation of training excellent IT professionals. My road to graduation wasn’t easy – I had to work many dirty jobs to help pay for school. Overall, my time at DU was a great experience and I graduated in 2006 with a BS in Computer Networking. Now, I work at ITS as a senior sales engineer.

You mentioned you worked many “dirty jobs.” What are some of the jobs you worked?

Well, money was tight and I had to pay for school. My first “dirty job” was working for the Lakeport Market and was the “human” bottle sorter before the pop can machines came out. Next, I moved on to Meijer and worked as a pop can machine cleaner. Looking back, I do not know what was grosser, sorting the bottles from the plastic bags at Lakeport Market or cleaning the pop can machines at Meijer. At the same time, I worked at our family business doing stump grinding. Next, I worked at the Lakeport State Park for a summer, mowing lawns, weed wacking, digging out fire pits, and cleaning the bathrooms and showers. Finally, my dad got me a job mopping the floors at a local factory. I would go to class Monday – Thursday, and then drive to Detroit and work Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I mopped the factory floors for four years until I finished college.

From driving truck to IT, why did you pick Davenport?

I went to Davenport because I was interested in technology. As soon as I got to Davenport, my experience was exactly what I’d hoped. I had some amazing professors. Nancy Hanson was awesome and I took all of her Cisco classes. I enjoyed the Microsoft classes with Ron Draayer and programming classes with Pete Anderson.

How did you get a job at ITS?

My professor, Nancy Hansen had connections at ITS. She told the whole class to apply for their entry-level engineer program, which took students interested in IT through an extensive training and externship process. I had my first interview and then six months later I was asked to come in again. The second time they were not interested in my experience and said that they could not hire me. I was pretty bummed, so I went home and continued to work has a stump grinder. I had enough money for about two weeks. But, I got a call a few weeks later saying I got the job! Luckily for me, the CEO, Wade, insisted that they hire me. Wade really like my story of persistence, especially the stump-grinding story. I was the only person out of the whole class who got the job.

In a nutshell, what do you do now?

I have held a few positions at ITS. I started as a junior engineer, moved up to a engineer and instructor, then to senior engineer. I mainly focused on computers that needed updates or programs installed.  As a junior engineer, I would deploy computer systems to companies that had around 100 computers at a time for one client.  Then I worked my way up to senior engineer and would deploy systems management tools to enterprises that would consist of over 100,000 computers. I went from working in the bottle department at Meijer to later doing their systems management deployment across all their stores.

I moved into as sales engineer role about five years ago and was recently promoted to a senior sales engineer. In this position, I meet with clients and learn about their problems and try to come up with solutions. Before I was the one implementing the solutions, now I am the one designing and creating solutions for our clients all over the world.

What is your dream job?

Funny you ask. My dream job is to work at a deli shop or game stop. In my thinking, those jobs are less stressful but in all reality, it probably is not. This is probably some sort of retirement job. When my wife and I retire, our goal is to start a mobile petting zoo and get some goats, pig and chickens. We would offer the petting zoo free at kid’s birthday parties and events.

What do you do when you are not working?

I spend time with my wife, Jenna, and my one-year-old daughter, Sophie. I also enjoy spending time with our fur babies which consist of an English Bulldog, a Poma-Poh and a Shih-Tzu. They’re quite the odd wolf pack but we love them!