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Manufacturing revs his engine

Joe Shaxted

Joe Shaxted
BSIM ’13
American Axle & Manufacturing

Joe Shaxted likes cars. As a result, he'll start work this spring at American Axle and Manufacturing in Michigan.

A native of Barrington, Illinois, Joe followed in his brother's footsteps at Purdue. He decided on Krannert's Industrial Management (IM) major, where he says "you can go on any path." His minor is in industrial engineering.

During his junior year, Joe was preparing for the career fair on campus. "I looked at every company that had anything to do with automobiles, because I love the manufacturing side of the industry," he says.

The internship was a challenge for a 20-year-old still in school. "I was in a unionized environment where I was supervising people as much as three times my age," he says. "It's the most challenging thing I've done in my life."

"What I discovered is that once you got to know the workers on a personal level, they were willing to work for you. I loved the challenge and the fast pace of the job. I couldn't stand working behind a desk all day."

Joe and his team broke three department records and saved the company close to $300,000 during his internship, and the company was eager to bring him on in a full-time capacity after graduation. He'll be the only new supervisor in his area.

Taking on challenges is nothing new for Joe. Seeing the decline of enrollment in the Industrial Management program, he founded a student group called the Association of Industrial Management Students (AIMS). The group creates awareness for the major and helps create networking opportunities, and has grown from less than 20 original members to more than double that.

"Manufacturing has lost some of its glory from the past," he says. "We believe IM has the ability to attract the best Krannert students, and we want to build a passion with our group that extends to others."

Joe also founded RISE, the largest Greek risk management organization on campus, growing that group from seven active members to more than 80. It's part of a plan to give back to a university that has already given him much.

"Coming to Purdue has been a life-changing experience for me," he says. "It's given me a whole new perspective on life, and it's helped me create a network of people that I'll connect with the rest of my life.

"My younger sister is a cheerleader here now, and I plan to send my kids here someday. It's already become a lifestyle."