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Few have enjoyed a show-and-tell event quite like the one a contingent of GC students, faculty and administrators experienced in mid-April when Mike Lukemire ’80 arranged for them to travel by corporate jet to the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company R & D headquarters in Marysville, Ohio, where he is executive vice president and chief operating officer. The biology and chemistry students in the group spent the entire day with members of the R&D team, gaining valuable insight into the lawn and garden industry, the science associated with it, and internship and career options. Top-level executives, managers, researchers, scientists, and numerous others spent the day sharing information on R&D functions, organizational structure, field research, processes for launching products, packaging, regulations, laboratory work, and so much more. They gave a full explanation of the roles and responsibilities of R&D associates and led a full discussion of skills and competencies important to R&D positions. “We were impressed by the collaboration and across-theboard skills that are utilized,” commented Dr. Patrick Sheridan, Associate Professor of Chemistry. “I was so impressed by their work and passion for their research.” In fact, he was so impressed that he says he intends to tweak his organic chemistry lab curriculum to introduce activities geared toward skills that they learned about on the tour. Dr. Sheridan created quite a wish list for the chemistry program as a result of the visit. Students also came away inspired by how much the team members care about the environment. “Wow! What an awesome experience,” wrote Stella Hundley, a biology major from Shelbyville, in a follow-up thank you to Mr. Lukemire. “The company produces much more product than I knew, and so much goes into the production.” Jacob Flora, a chemistry major from Lawrenceburg, wrote, “The R&D department is incredible and I love the company’s drive for success. The personnel were extremely well-spoken and knowledgeable – something I strive to be.” Other biochemistry, biology, and chemistry students who were chosen for the trip were Paige Charis, Madisonville; Aaron Benge, Louisville; Turner Altman, Pikeville; Aaron Settles, Brandenburg; and Angie Mikos, Harrisburg, Pa. Other Georgetown College representatives included Mr. Mike Calhoun, Major Gift Officer; Dr. John Blackburn, Trustee and Professor Emeritus of Chemistry; Dr. Todd Rasberry, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and Dr. M. Dwaine Greene, President. Lukemire began his career with the lawn and garden products company in 1995 and was named chief operating officer in 2014. Responsible for the Company’s worldwide

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portfolio of consumer brands and products, he is accountable for overall leadership of the Global Consumer business, including Marketing, Sales, Research and Development and Global Supply Chain, as well as the Company’s Scotts Lawn Service business and leading growth in emerging areas. Prior to his appointment as COO, Mr. Lukemire had several progressive assignments, including director of operations, vice president of manufacturing, and senior vice president, Global Supply Chain. He was also executive vice president, global technologies and operations, responsible for Global Supply Chain, Research and Development and Business Transformation. Mike also served as regional president, responsible for leading the company’s business development, marketing and sales efforts in the southeastern U.S. He led the North American sales function until March 2014, when he was named executive vice president for the entire North American business. Subsequent to the visit to the Miracle-Gro campus, Mr. Lukemire was asked to reflect upon his time as a Georgetown College student. He said Georgetown introduced him to some of the best friends he has ever had in his life and that he was able to develop relationships with professors who treated him “like a person and not like a number.” In particular he cited Dr. Blackburn and now-retired mathematics professor Dr. Austin French. “Dr. Blackburn was one of my greatest influences,” he related. “I was not the greatest student, and even though I wasn’t his top student, he took the extra time and effort to teach me. He really cared about all students, and he gave his attention to everyone.” Both professors, he said, valued him as a person and showed it. Those relationships made a lasting impact. “Throughout my career, this resonated with me. I really believe that we need different talents and capabilities in an organization. It’s important to value people, all people matter.” Does Mr. Lukemire see benefit to a liberal arts education? To that, he gave an emphatic yes. “Liberal arts programs help you

Profile for Georgetown College

GC Magazine Fall 2015  

GC Magazine Fall 2015