TERRE HAUTE —
Fred and Todd Cartwright of Terre Haute may have taken their engineering degrees into different industries, but both found global understanding to be a powerful career asset.
“As an engineer, while it is absolutely possible to affect the world from wherever you are located, we both realize that maximum benefit comes from first-hand experience in the relevant culture,” said Fred.
Earning his mechanical engineering degree from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 1980, Fred drove into the automotive industry, spending more than 30 years working for various divisions of General Motors. He started with Allison Transmission, moved to work with customers throughout the world and then served as vice president for alliances and new business development for GM’s European operations.
“It’s almost impossible to work at General Motors and not be affected by the rest of the globe,” Fred said. “You always have some linkage to the rest of the world.”
That’s not just for executives, but also engineers. “I’ve had to consider global needs on virtually everything I do,” he said.
In April, Fred left GM, but has retained his focus on the automotive industry. He is now the executive director of Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research.
Todd followed his brother to Rose-Hulman, graduating with a mechanical engineering degree in 1989, and has spent his career with CB&I, a global engineering/construction company specializing in energy-related projects.
“One of my goals was to try to explore the world a little bit. CB&I has allowed me opportunities to travel and see different places,” he said.
In 24 years with the company, Todd has moved 14 times. After a two-year training program, he landed just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. Then, it was onto Chicago, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, a stop in Texas, time in Australia, back to Chicago and finally to Houston last year. He now serves as vice president of LNG sales.
“Having that international experience helps you know how to adjust your approach based on the local customs and customers, and knowing how to deal with people of different nationalities who have different requirements and expectations,” he said.