H. Robert “Gus” Gustafson Jr.
Lehigh University Enterprise Systems Center
I have been involved with supporting the ESC since its founding by Dr. Emory Zimmers in 1973. We have completed more than 400 industry projects involving over 3,000 students.
As managing director, I support the center’s mission to provide experiential learning and leadership development opportunities for students while making our industry partners more globally competitive through consulting engagements. This is accomplished by recruiting world-class mentors to lead 20 funded industry projects, which must be sold each spring, summer and fall.
We transitioned ESC from using industry partner volunteers as mentors on their own projects to a system of ESC-provided mentors who guide funded student projects. This transition ensured more meaningful projects and effective mentoring. We also developed the Lehigh academic leadership programs with cutting-edge practices in sustainability, analytics, etc.
The more you give back, the more you receive. When you treat students as adults, you are rarely disappointed by their behavior. Also, as Dr. (Emory) Zimmers says, “Students are not interrupting your work, they are your work.”
One of my favorite hobbies is running the “Kings-of-Tailgates” at Lehigh football games. It helps keep 50 to 250 alumni and friends together and raises significant money for the athletic program. My greatest joy today is spending time with my three young grandchildren!
This profile is part of Lehigh Valley Business' Higher Education Power 30 list for 2021. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. See the full list at lvb.com or in our digital edition.