WMU News

Stryker Instruments named Employer of the Year

Aug. 8, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Stryker Instruments of Kalamazoo has been named Western Michigan University's 2002-03 Employer of the Year.

The company, a division of the Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp., is recognized around the globe as a leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing specialty surgical and medical products. It was selected for the award by Career & Student Employment Services in WMU's Division of Student Affairs.

CSES has been designating the University's top employer each academic year since 1991. Recipients are chosen based on their outstanding recruiting practices as well as their high level of involvement in educational partnerships and recruiting activities that contribute to the career development and employment of WMU students and alumni.

This year's award was presented at a special luncheon July 31 in Kalamazoo. Accepting the honor were three Stryker executives who have played key roles in the company's recruiting efforts: Mabel Balduf, a former recruiter and now a planner in the Hardware Unit; Ashley A. Brinn, associate unit manager in the Hardware Unit; and Jennifer Lentner, manager of Web development.

Brinn, a 1999 alumna, and Lentner, a 1996 alumna, both earned bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering from WMU and were members of the University's Lee Honors College.

"Stryker Instruments demonstrates aggressive, highly selective and very responsive recruiting practices," says Linda Ickes, CSES associate director of external affairs. "It's representatives are extremely visible on the WMU campus, attending career fairs; using Bronco JOBS, our online employment site; and interviewing for both technical and non-technical internships and professional-level positions."

Ickes adds that people make the big difference when it comes to recruiting, and characterizes Balduf, Brinn and Lentner as three of the University's most committed, energetic and personable recruiting partners.

"All three have volunteered to speak with and educate students about Stryker Instruments," she says, "and more importantly, to help teach students how to be successful in their job searches, on the job and in finding a corporate culture that's a good fit for who they are."

In addition, Ickes says as WMU alumni and women engineers, Brinn and Lentner are role models for success and help dispel some of the stereotypical assumptions students have about engineering, business and management careers in manufacturing environments.

"Not only are they minorities in their profession, but they also have career paths that led them to management positions outside of engineering," she notes.

"But even though they're both approachable and easy to talk with, we often tell students: 'Don't let that fool you. Be prepared when interviewing because they mean business.' Our students need to know that Stryker Instruments has earned the right to be highly selective and seeks intelligent, results-oriented people who thrive on achievement and excellence in their work."

Stryker Corp. was founded in 1964 and has 14 manufacturing and distribution divisions in the United States and abroad. The corporation employs about 14,000 people worldwide, with more than 30 WMU graduates currently working in the Stryker Instruments division.

"Stryker Corp. provides products and services to thousands of medical professionals on a daily basis, while doing business in an extremely competitive market," Brinn says. "Consequently, the people we employ have a special balance of extremely high integrity and fierce competitive drive. It's a powerful combination."

According to Balduf, the company recruits from WMU in large part because of the University's committed staff and faculty.

"They share a vested interest in seeing that their students excel in a competitive job market and they continuously seek employers' input and maintain a close partnership with the Stryker community," she says. "As a direct result, we're presented with prepared, high caliber candidates who are hungry to take on the challenges that Stryker offers."

Lentner adds that Stryker also seeks employees who have a strong sense of mission.

"It's very motivating to go to work knowing that what you do has an impact on patient quality of life," she says. "Working with students allows me to offer that opportunity to others, and I can't think of any place I would rather do that than at WMU."

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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