Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Spring 2019 (May 2019)

‘Exploring Beloit’ Event Highlights Community Assets

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May 2019
By Kelsey Rettke’15

When Tim McKevett’86 ventured across the Wisconsin-Illinois border from his Chicagoland hometown to attend Beloit in 1982, he was interested in corporate law. More than 30 years later, McKevett’s career may not have catapulted him as originally planned, but he’s definitely traveled up the corporate ladder.

He’s raised his family in Beloit, and is now president and chief executive officer of the Beloit Health System.

McKevett participated in an “Exploring Beloit” panel organized by students in April that allowed them to learn from the experiences of community business leaders like himself.

[Sp20] Tim McKevett’86 & Michael O’Neill
CEOs from two of the city of Beloit’s major employers share stories during the first Exploring Beloit event in April. At far right is Tim McKevett’86, CEO of Beloit Health System, joined by Michael O’Neill, CEO of Kerry.
Photo by: Amanda Reeseburg.

Farhan Tahir’19 of Lahore, Pakistan, and Salma Ali’21 of Dhaka, Bangladesh, organized the panel, saying they wanted to remind their peers that professional resources exist right in their own backyard.

“At Beloit, I was fortunate enough to work for some of the big local companies, but I always saw my peers struggling,” Tahir says. “They were all searching for internships in bigger cities while ignoring the presence of billion-dollar corporations in our local community.”

Beloit Health System is the city of Beloit’s largest employer, and an organization McKevett did not expect to lead one day. In his junior year, McKevett took a finance class taught by a visiting instructor who was also the president of Beloit Memorial Hospital.

McKevett worked with former Dean of Students Bill Flanagan to arrange an internship at the hospital. At the time, Flanagan was the director of experiential learning, helping students find meaningful work experiences and internships.

“Tim was eager to gain work experience, and I had a connection to the hospital,” Flanagan says. “It turned out they found in him what I found: a hard-working, dedicated individual who had aspirations for growth and development.”

McKevett liked the internship so much, he stayed on through his senior year, and earned an offer for a full-time position by the time he graduated. He worked his way up from administrative assistant to assistant vice president to vice president to senior vice president. In May 2014, he was appointed president and CEO of Beloit Health System.

[Sp20] Student asking a Question at 'Exploring Beloit'
The student asking a question is framed by student organizers Salma Ali’21, left, and Farhan Tahir’19.
Photo by: Amanda Reeseburg.

Tahir says he wanted to organize the “Exploring Beloit” panel to help bridge the gap between the college and community. The business economics and mathematics major has held a number of internships with organizations in the Beloit area, including Kerry, a global food and beverage company with North American headquarters only six miles from campus. Kerry’s President and CEO, Michael O’Neill, was also a panelist for the Exploring Beloit event.

Tahir says he was fortunate to be able to use his liberal arts skills and translate his experiences in the classroom during internships. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” he says. “So I tried everything. Only a liberal arts degree gives you the freedom to test and trial.”

Ali, a mathematics and economics major, is working as an intern at Beloit-based Hendricks CareerTek, a career and learning center for local K-12 students to get hands-on experience in industry jobs before graduating from high school.

“I have learned so much working for a non-profit that strives to promote educational and career development among the youth of the Stateline area,” Ali says.

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