Open House Nurtures University and Corporate Collaboration

Representatives from more than 100 companies attended The University of Texas at Dallas’ second annual Corporate Open House, exploring potential ways to partner with the University. 

Dale Petroskey (left), president and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber, spoke with Shaila Parker, founder and CEO of LH Executive Services, after his keynote presentation.

Corporations represented at the event employ a combined 3 million workers worldwide, including approximately 6,200 UT Dallas alumni. 

In the keynote address, Dale Petroskey, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Regional Chamber, offered an inside look at the economic growth experienced by the Dallas-Fort Worth region over the last decade and the crucial role played by the University to drive that growth.

“UT Dallas does a great job already of contributing to the region’s economic success through mentorships, internships and research which turns into products and companies,” he said at the May 16 event held at the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center. “All of this is a big boost to the economy of the Dallas region.”

Petroskey also stressed the importance of the Corporate Open House and similar events that foster conversations on future research goals and academic programs.

“What kind of jobs do we need? What kind of skills do we need to fill in this workforce?” Petroskey said. “That is the kind of conversation that needs to go from industry to universities so that universities can teach the kinds of courses and skills that are needed for graduates to work in meaningful jobs.”

Representatives from some of the University’s longtime corporate partners, including IBM, were on hand to attest to the benefits of collaboration.

“There is a terrific alignment between IBM’s needs and what UT Dallas has to offer,” said Jim Tokarz MBA’98, strategic partner development manager at IBM. “Our company is involved in a lot of different areas, from pure research to building technology-based solutions and providing business consulting. When you look at the different schools here on campus, from the Naveen Jindal School of Management to the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, it’s great to have a pool of talent and resources which can address all of our different needs within the company.”

When you look at the different schools here on campus … it’s great to have a pool of talent and resources which can address all of our different needs within the company.

Jim Tokarz MBA’98, strategic partner development manager at IBM

The open house included a session about on-campus recruiting and student organizations. There were also panels detailing the University’s many innovation and entrepreneurship programs, research, student projects, diversity and student veterans, and a series of TED talk-style presentations by student researchers working with industry partners.

Event participants also learned about the experiences of students in the University’s Academic Bridge Program, which helps first-generation college students transition from high school to university life. Hepson Sanchez, a computer science junior and president of the UT Dallas chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, spoke about the importance of such programs and the need for corporate engagement to fill a similar role for graduating students.

“My parents emigrated from Mexico with little formal education and by the time I was in middle school, they were really struggling to help me in math,” Sanchez said. “I’m grateful for the Academic Bridge Program for providing the mentorship I could not find elsewhere. This program fills the gap between high school and college for a lot of students, but we are in need of a bridge from college to the professional world.”

After last year’s inaugural Corporate Open House, more than 20 new relationships were forged between UT Dallas and local companies.

“We want companies to know that UT Dallas is open for business,” said Jessica Shepard Watts MPA’10, senior director of corporate relations at UT Dallas. “We make it very easy for them to engage with the University, through recruiting students, supporting class projects and collaborating with our faculty on research.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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