Alum Spotlight: Brandon Gray

Alumni Spotlight: Networking

Connection within the Evans Scholars Program leads to new job 

Brandon Gray (right) with employer Jeff Barber.
The two met through the Evans Scholars network.

Without the Evans Scholarship, Brandon Gray’s (MSU ’11) life would have been a lot different. “The scholarship was probably the best thing that happened to me,” he says. Then the next best thing happened.

He connected with an Evans Scholar Alum, which led to a new job better suited to his personality. It reinforced his belief that the Evans Scholarship is more than just a college degree. “I can’t find the words for how the scholarship sets you up professionally and helps you for the rest of your life,” he says.

Gray started caddying at age 12 in Grosse Ile, Mich. He learned about the Evans Scholarship immediately and dedicated himself to earning it. After a demanding college career as a mechanical engineering major, Gray began searching for jobs, eventually securing a position in Atlanta. However, after getting acquainted with his new company, he realized it wasn’t the right fit.

Then an Evans Scholar connection came through. He had previously emailed Jeff Barber (MSU ’88) about an ES event and then connected with him through LinkedIn. When Barber’s company, RWP Kinsale, needed to hire a new employee in Novi, Mich., Barber asked Gray if he could recommend someone.

“I was trying to find somebody from MSU in engineering, preferably an Evans Scholar,” Barber said. “I asked him if he knew somebody who would be interested in the job.”

“What about me?” was Gray’s response.

Gray was offered the job, in which he designs, develops and sells automotive parts and assemblies. “It’s great working here,” Gray says. “You see everybody and interact with everybody.” The close-knit connections within the company are similar to those of the Evans Scholars network.

Creating a network of Scholar contacts is a priority for both Gray and Barber. “As an employer, I know an Evans Scholar has a certain skill set that involves all the facets of what you learn in the program: integrity, hard work, understanding what it takes to be successful. It’s a valuable thing,” Barber says.

Once a young caddie on the golf course, Gray is now a member at his country club. “I am always trying to give back and be involved with Evans Scholars,” he says.

 -First printed in the Summer 2012 WGA Evans Scholars Magazine