Alumni Success Story: Tom Hazen, ’99

Today, you might find Tom Hazen ’99 loading a plane with product bound for Portugal, managing distributor relations or traveling to Milan to oversee operations, but his passion for traveling and adventures started at an early age. After college, Tom landed a job working for Materion Performance Alloys. Working his way up, Tom is now a Global Project Manager for plastic tooling. Learn more about Tom below.

Tell us about yourself!
I was born Grand Rapids and raised in Ravenna, Michigan. Ever since I was little, I enjoyed traveling. My father was a schoolteacher and had an industrial painting company. During the summer, I would travel the state with my dad to help him paint. Traveling is a part of my DNA – I started at an early age and still do to this day. I worked full-time while I finished my degree. I earned my associates in 1989 and earned my bachelor degree in 1999 from Davenport. As soon as I graduated, I landed at the company I am at now, Materion Performance Alloys. I have held a few different sales positions but today I work as a Global Marketing Manager for plastic tooling business unit.

Why did you pick Davenport?
I picked Davenport because of the hospitality and management program. Davenport helped me get my first job working the front desk at the Holiday Inn South on 28th Street. I soon decided that I would change into a sales and marketing curriculum. After leaving the hotel industry I worked during the day at a metal casting foundry, went home and got ready, then headed to class at night at the Fulton Street campus. The foundry job helped me realize that I really wanted to pursue a career in sales and marketing.

What shaped your experience at Davenport?
The professors and staff are who really made my experience at DU great. One staff member in particular, Bob Orlikowski, who worked in student services, really helped me every step of the way. Bob was a great sounding board and assisted me through my studies. When he passed, I saw that the foundation started a scholarship in his honor. I have supported the scholarship ever since.

In a nutshell, what do you do?
I work as a Global Market Manager for plastic tooling at Materion  Performance Alloys. Our company makes many different products related to the use of beryllium. I have been working in the tooling division since I started. In my current role, I am responsible for selling the mold materials that Materion produces and ensuring they are available globally. I build relationships with our distributors to ensure we are delivering on what we promised for all of our customers. For example, if a company specifies our mold materion in the United States and they are manufacturing in Germany; I work with our distributors overseas to ensure that the customer who wants our mold material can walk into any distributor in Germany with our blueprint to guarantee they are getting the same product we make in the United States. I work remotely when I am not traveling. I was recently in Portugal to visit with a distributor to negotiate a pricing and shipping project. Then went over to Milan to work with the distributor in Italy, then to Germany to do the same.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I am proud that I have established a good reputation and presence at the company that I am at now. I feel respected and valued. Of course, being married to my wife of 21 years and raising two boys is a huge accomplishment too. I am proud that I have maintained a steady, adventurous job while being able to raise my family in West Michigan.

What is your dream job?
I feel like I am in my dream job now.

Best advice you’ve ever received?
You are going to make a mistake and you’re going to fail but it’s the way you respond to it that will define you.

What do you do when you are not working?
I enjoy spending time with my family. My wife and I spend a lot of time watching our son’s plays sports. I also enjoy being outside, running, and exploring Grand Rapids.


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