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Torgersen Leadership Summit inspires students to reach for success

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Michael Giuliano, keynote of the 2019 Torgersen Leadership Summit

More than 200 engineering students attended this year's Torgersen Leadership Summit that was held at Virginia Tech on February 16th.

The summit honors the legacy of the late Paul Torgersen, president at Virginia Tech from 1994 through 2000. He was an industrial engineering graduate who, apart from his presidency, also served Virginia Tech as a faculty member and dean for the College of Engineering.

The keynote address was provided by Michael Giuliano, a serial entrepreneur who has successfully designed, developed, patented, and commercialized products in excess of $1 Billion. Giuliano is the COO of MOTI Technologies.

This year's theme was “Reach”. The goal of this years conference was for students to leave feeling confident in their abilities to reach within themselves, reach out to others to build their own networks, and to reach up to further their careers.  

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Elise Foster engaging with students in her workshop, "Careers and Climbing the Ladder".
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Dan Angelelli, Courtney McPherson, and Amir Gaffarian sitting on the Young Professionals Panel.

Two workshops were included in the half-day event. They included:

“Careers and Climbing the Ladder,” presented by Virginia Tech alumna and professional leadership coach, Elise Foster.

“LinkedIn Optimization,” presented by Michael Giuliano.

Three panel discussions were offered. Attendees had the option of sitting in with seniors leaders, young professionals, or entrepreneurs. The panel members included: 

Seniors Leaders Panel: Michael Foss, Head of Process Engineering & Continuous Improvement, Amazon; Tom Winters, Senior Vice-President of North American Operations, PepsiCo; Maria Bothwell, CEO, Toffler Associates; Michael Giuliano, COO, MOTI Technologies.

Young Professionals Panel: Courtney McPherson, Management Engineer, Duke University Health System; Dan Angelelli, Scrum Master and Senior Consultant, Alpine Consulting Partners, LLC.; Kyra Vila, Senior Program and Organization Change Manager, Nielsen; Amir Gaffarian, Senior Specialist Regulatory Integration, Altria.

Entrepreneurs Panel: Spencer Lobik, Amazon Web Practive Lead, Alpine Consulting Partners, LLC.; Elizabeth Jose, Co-Founder and CEO, Flewid Capital, Inc.; Don Meier, Co-founder and CEO, LineShift; Debra Vazquez, Founder and CEO, WISH, Inc.

The summit was hosted by the Virginia Tech student chapter of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. They are advised by Department Head and Professor Eileen Van Aken.