Helping to attract and develop the best educators for engineering management at Michigan Technological University is one of the reasons Ron and Linda Staley have made a recent gift to the School of Business and Economics.
The couple created the Staley Endowed Faculty Fellow for the continued growth of the new Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management degree.
“A single scholarship can make a major difference to a single student, allowing the financial means to achieve their college education,” Staley says. “However, that great professor who really helps you learn, who inspires you, whose knowledge sharing can turn into something special and be a path for your future career, that professor is the game changer to potentially hundreds of students. Linda and I appreciate those who make their career in educating our future leaders and want to help support those individuals at MTU.”
Staley says when classmate and Professor Dana Johnson and Dean Johnson, dean of the School of Business and Economics, shared their vision for the new degree program, he saw great potential for students.
To Staley, it is exactly the path Michigan Tech helped him create when he earned an associate’s degree in civil engineering technology in 1977 and a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1980.
“A degree in engineering management can be used in so many engineering fields that I wanted to support the program,” Staley says. “It’s that combination of technical knowledge and business acumen that I believe is so important to all engineers.”
Working on engines, old cars, and motorcycles led Staley to a career in engineering. He has worked for more than 30 years with The Christman Company where he specializes in historic preservation for monumental buildings. He serves as the Senior Vice President, Regional Manager for Southeast Michigan, and Executive Director of Historic Preservation.
Staley has worked on state capitols in Michigan, Maryland, and Virginia, President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington DC, the US Capitol Building, projects in Morocco, Poland, and most recently, to Cuba to work on Ernest Hemingway’s historic Finca Vigia. Other memorable work includes Henry Ford’s Fair Lane estate and multiple projects for the National Park Service in Calumet.
His time at Tech taught him to work hard and that helped define his life. “I had these great technical skills that allowed me to open doors for unique opportunities. But it was the business background that developed those opportunities into a career.”
Giving back to his alma mater that shaped his education and career is important to the couple.
“I’m not ready to retire anytime soon, but Linda and I talked extensively and while we’ve always planned that Michigan Tech would be in our estate planning, it was this new degree program that helped us really say ‘we can make a difference.’”
Dr. Dean Johnson, Dean of the School of Business and Economics, says gifts like the Staley’s are transformational for students and faculty.
“The School has been blessed through Ron and Linda’s contributions of their time and student scholarships,” Johnson says. “Today the Ron and Linda Staley Endowed Faculty Fellow position propel the School of Business and Economics forward in delivering the premier technology-infused experiential business education in the Midwest.”
Staley said he and Linda hope their endowment donation helps Michigan Tech’s engineering management program grow.
“Everyone has the opportunity to help the next generation coming through the great portals of MTU,” Staley says. “We are happy to be in a position which allows us to make this commitment.”
When Staley made his first gift to Michigan Tech in 1983, he sent his support to the School of Business and Economics, said Eric Halonen, Assistant Vice President for Advancement. “With that first gift, Staley showed he was supportive and appreciative of his Tech education,” he said. “Since then he has continued to grow and establish his giving, most recently with his and Linda’s generous estate planning gift.”
The Staley’s also support the School of Business and Economics with the establishment of a new engineering management scholarship for incoming students. This endowed scholarship will recognize an outstanding first-year student in the engineering management major.
Outside of the office, Staley enjoys adventure. He is a pilot and owns three airplanes: a WWII-era North American T-6 Advanced Trainer, a 1981 Russian Aero L-39 jet, and a Cessna 414. The couple enjoys traveling across the globe including trips to Thailand, Greece, Italy, Europe, and Mexico.
He and Linda live in Brighton, Michigan and have two married children and two grandchildren. In 2017, Staley was inducted into the School’s Academy of Business and joined the Engineering and Supply Chain Management Industry Advisory Board.