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Kettering Co-Op Key For Youngest Project Manager At Hirotec

FLINT -- One of the most significant ways Matthew Haeger's undergraduate education at Kettering University helped prepare him for his current career is simply reinforcing the importance of "preparation" itself.

Haeger, a Bay City Western High School graduate who has a mechanical engineering degree from Kettering University, is a project manager at Hirotec America in Auburn Hills.

According to Hirotec America president and COO James B. Toeniskoetter, Haeger is the youngest project manager the company has ever had. "Most project managers here are at least a decade or two older than Matt," Toeniskoetter said.

Hirotec America is a member of the Hirotec Group, which was established in 1932 in Hiroshima, Japan. Through the years, Hirotec has grown into an industry leading global organization that includes 26 facilities in nine countries. Today, Hirotec has $1.4 billion in sales and provides quality door closure panels, manufacturing equipment, and exhaust components to automotive manufacturers around the world.

Hirotec America solely focuses on closure tooling manufacturing, in which Haeger has used his engineering education as a foundation for his professional career. Through both his co-op experience and his knowledge of Hirotec's engineering based work environment, he was able to make a very easy transition into being an effective and reliable project manager after graduation.

With Kettering's co-op education model being experiential-based, a company like Hirotec that also embraces hands-on learning makes a natural fit as co-op partners.

"The Kettering co-op program is interesting because it is different than typical summer internship programs," said Brian McGinnity, CFO of Hirotec America. "It allows us to have a constant flow of students and potential employees over a period of time that fit the needs of Hirotec employment opportunities. The Kettering model is very attractive from that standpoint."

Haeger valued the experience of learning about the company as a co-op employee, which made him eager to work there after graduating because he already knew the company well.

"As a co-op employee, I came in as freshman with just basic understanding of mechanical engineering and business practices," Haeger said. "I was able to work my way up through the ranks, learn all the different jobs and gain the knowledge I needed to get where I'm at now."

Kettering University is a nationally ranked STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and business university, and a national leader in combining a rigorous academic environment with rich opportunities for experiential learning and cooperative education. Kettering focuses on the learning experience of the individual student. For more information, visit

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