Distinguished Donor Spotlight ~ Zach Alesandrini
NIU College of Business Outstanding Young Alumnus award winner and Dean's Circle Member, Zach Alesandrini, had planned on attending University of Illinois. In fact, he had mailed in his acceptance letter, accepted the scholarship which they had offered, and told his friends. He had also applied to NIU late in his senior year, and when NIU accepted him and also offered him a scholarship, he decided to take a visit to campus. That afternoon he changed his mind.
Barsema Hall, recently built at the time, was one of the best facilities he had seen. When speaking with faculty he was warmed by their down to earth personalities and driven by their focus to prepare students for the business world. While in Barsema Hall, Zach was taken to the Business Experiential Learning Center, (ELC) and given a tour. He saw first-hand the top corporations it was working with and reset his direction; he knew NIU was where he needed to be. "I saw the ELC giving students real world experience that is so hard to replicate. You can learn all the theories, formulas, and case studies you want, but until you are actually doing it (and the ELC is doing it) you don't fully understand what it takes."
Zach graduated with Honors from NIU in 2007, with a B.S. in Management and a minor in Economics. He remains involved with the Department of Management to help mentor current students as they begin to shape their career paths. As a Dean's Circle Member, Zach feels it is his "duty to pay back to the college" with the commitment shown to him. "The scholarship money I received while at NIU gave me the opportunity to experience as much as I did during my college career. It also allowed me to graduate without crippling college loans, letting me start my professional and personal life on a positive note." Zach wants to give other students that advantage, even if it's just a small portion of the total cost. Zach explains, "It's a commitment and investment in those students and I believe they will understand and do the same when they are alumni."
Today Zach is a Project Manager at Epic, a privately held company that creates healthcare software for large medical groups, hospitals, and integrated healthcare organizations. In his six years at Epic, the company has doubled in size and established itself as one of the industry leaders. He has worked with over thirty healthcare organizations in various roles, including implementing electronic medical records, improving their revenue cycles, and managing multifaceted IT projects.
Zach fondly remembers his professors and their advice. "I took it to heart and it contributed to my success." Even a side discussion during a class taught by Dennis Barsema has carried with him. "Dennis explained to the class that one of the first things he notices about a co-worker or interviewee he may meet is their shoes and if they're polished. Dennis told us if someone doesn't care enough to polish their shoes, he probably doesn't need to work with them. To this day I keep my shoes polished and often others notice and say 'Wow! Your shoes are shiny.'"
Zach currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin. His hobbies include travel, art collecting, and tailgating. He is a proud season ticket holder and supporter of NIU football and the Chicago Cubs.