Harper recognizes grill giant Weber-Stephen for hiring alumni

  • Harper College News Bureau
  • October 18, 2016

Weber-Stephen ProductsIt’s only fitting that Harper College would tap Weber-Stephen Products LLC for its Stand Up and Be Counted Program, which aims to recognize Harper alumni in the workplace and celebrate employers throughout the community that have hired them.

After all, the two institutions recently became next door neighbors.

“We’ve been present in the Palatine community since 1950, but now at our new headquarters (at Roselle and Algonquin roads), we drive by the College every day,” Chief HR Officer Tracey Roberts said. “It’s important to be good neighbors.”

Harper’s Educational Foundation welcomed about 25 alumni and current Weber-Stephen employees to their company’s Grill Academy for a BBQ-inspired reception. The company manufactures the ubiquitous Weber Grills found in millions of backyards. Joseph Quinn of BMO Harris Bank, who sits on Harper’s Alumni Committee, presented Roberts with a plaque.

Quinn said Harper provided him with the direction and drive he needed during a challenging time in his life. He encouraged alumni to come back to campus on occasion, pointing out various ways to get involved and upcoming events such as the Distinguished Alumni reception on Thursday, Nov. 3.

“It’s extremely important to be connected to the organization that not only provides so much back to our communities, but helps people gain the skill sets they need to compete for job opportunities,” Quinn said. “We all owe a lot to Harper College.”

Among those alumni/Weber-Stephen employees in attendance was fabrication supervisor Bill Zrelak, who briefly attended Harper after high school and returned as an adult to study business management. He took honors classes and made the dean’s list.

“Those courses have helped me in my role at Weber-Stephen, they’ve helped me in my career, they’ve even helped me to do a better job raising my kids,” Zrelak said. “My experience at Harper has had an impact on everything I do.”

Weber-Stephen and Harper have expanded their partnership in recent years, especially in the areas of research and development and supply chain operations, from employees going to the College for refresher courses to graduates going to work for the employer.

Previous Stand Up and Be Counted celebrations by the Harper College Educational Foundation included receptions at BMO Harris Bank, AMITA Health and Alexian Brothers.

Weber-Stephen Products is the world's premier manufacturer of charcoal, gas and electric grills, grilling accessories and award-winning cookbooks and mobile applications. The privately held company's products are sold worldwide at select national home centers, specialty hardware stores, patio stores and other retail outlets.

Media contact:Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159