Legacy leads alumni

Jan 21, 2011

Frank Krohn '77 is the new president of the Kettering University Alumni Association.

Frank Krohn ’77, the newest president of the Kettering University Alumni Association, approaches his volunteer role with an interesting and historical perspective.

A third-generation General Motors man, his grandfather Frank’s 30 years as an hourly, skilled-trades worker at GM facilitated an opportunity for his son, John, to study at GMI.  John, who became a Lambda Chi at GMI, graduated in 1953 and spent his career in GM’s assembly division.

As the younger Frank Krohn was growing up, his heart knew he would be attending the world-famous Kettering/GMI.  “I grew up in Kansas City and by my high school years we were living in Michigan.  I came to campus sponsored by the Hydramatic division of GM,” he said.

Krohn said the 1970s were years of change for campus.  Freshmen were hit with the decision of whether to bring a Texas Instruments or Hewlett-Packard calculator to campus with them.  “Remember?” he chuckled.  “We were the students that were at the true blossoming of the computer age,” he recalled, “and we lived through the routine entry of women to the student body,” he said.  “The previous class to mine had only five women in it.”

He enjoyed his college years studying Business and Industrial Administration.  He became an active member of Sigma Chi fraternity and participated in Greek Life activities.  “Because I was taught by full professors, I had an education full of strong values,” he said, an academic preparation that has well served his GM career which is now in its 38th year.

“I like to think this education fosters logical thought,” he explained.  “The Kettering experience in particular, with its small school atmosphere, fosters student-faculty relationships that are unparalleled.  The working experiences provide a foundation of business, responsibility and meeting deadlines that other students just don’t come out of school with.”

Krohn began his GM years in production supervision in 1977, switching to Quality Systems Management in 1981.  He held various Quality positions for Hydramatic, until the division became GM Powertrain.  In 1987, he took a management position in Powertrain’s Central Office in Pontiac, concentrating on Customer Service and Plant Quality Systems development.  Later, he participated in the development of the Global Quality Systems for GM Powertrain.

“From 2002-05, I took a Quality function assignment in Stamping Operations Quality in Pontiac and was responsible for developing and implementing Standard Work and Managing for the Metal Fabricating Division’s resident workforce.  That shifted to Assembly Manufacturing Quality in 2005-2008,” he continued, when he was responsible for the implementation of Quality Systems improvement initiatives for Assembly Plants.

In 2008-2010, he relocated to Kansas City’s Fairfax Assembly, where he was responsible for implementing all launch aspects of quality for the GMX353 Buick LaCrosse vehicle.  He was back in Pontiac by 2010 and is currently a future program quality engineer for diesel engines.  Krohn is currently working on planning and executing the launch of the Duramax diesel engine.

He has been happily married for 35 years to his wife, Becky. They live in Howell, Mich., and have two grown children, Kristen and Stephen.

Krohn has been heavily involved in University Alumni Affairs for a number of years.  He replaces Julie Straka ’85, who completed her term as president.  Besides serving as the current president of the Alumni Association, he is also the vice president of Kettering’s Southeast Michigan chapter, Kettering’s largest alumni chapter in America.

When he’s not otherwise busy, he enjoys walking, hunting, sports and singing in two local chorales, the Livingston Community Chorale and the Plymouth Oratorio Society.

“Our school needs the support of alumni,” he said.  “I view this role as my opportunity to give back to my school.”  His goals for leading the Alumni Association include fostering a stronger relationship between the Alumni Association and Kettering’s Board of Trustees.  “I’m also interested in ways that the association will be able to help students find co-op opportunities in some of the newer curriculum areas, like Chemical Engineering and the Life Sciences.

“How the Alumni Association can help this school is definitely on our minds,” he concluded.  To read more about Kettering’s Alumni Association, visit: http://www.kettering.edu/alumni/

Written by Patricia Mroczek