George Wurtz III ’78, current chair and retired CEO and president of Soundview Paper Co. LLC in Elmwood Park, N.J., has high hopes for SUNY Oswego students pursuing engineering, a new program that has seen rapid growth in recent years.
Wurtz applies his years of management experience as chair of SUNY Oswego’s Engineering Advisory Board, the steering committee of alumni and influencers whose purpose is developing and progressing the college’s undergraduate engineering programs.
“Oswego students have a competitive advantage because of the teaching methodology of [SUNY Oswego founder Edward Austin] Sheldon,” Wurtz said. “It’s a more practical, hands-on, team-based, project-based education.”
Armed with an industrial arts education degree, now called technology education, Wurtz led a successful career in manufacturing with Phillip Morris, Georgia Pacific, and most recently Soundview, formerly Marcal, to name
a few. He recently decided to step down as president and CEO of Soundview to “take a breather” from the daily business of the pulp and paper giant to focus on other ventures.
When Wurtz returned to campus spring 2013, he visited the recently renovated technology education department in Park and Wilber halls. During his tour, Raymond Holt ’13 approached Wurtz about a prospective internship.
“Ray said, ’Hey, I live in New Jersey, would you consider a summer internship for me?’” Wurtz said. “So I took him up on it. Of the eight interns we had, he ended up getting one of the two jobs, and now he’s a supervisor heading for a manager job.”
Wurtz and his wife, Nancy, further showed their support for students pursuing engineering at SUNY Oswego with a $50,000 gift–creating the Wurtz Engineering Excellence Fund. The fund will support everything in the engineering program from scholarships to state-of-the-art labs.
“Manufacturing in America is back, but it’s tough to be in manufacturing without a solid base of engineers,” he said. “We can capitalize on that opportunity by filling that need through Oswego. That’s what we’re trying to do.”