John Krzeminski ‘03 started his career at Ford Motor Company during his co-op and continued to work there after graduation before moving to FEV, Chrysler, and eventually, founding his own company. He founded Strange Development in 2018 and two subsequent startups, Alpha-Otto Technologies in 2020 and Pure Surface Technologies in 2021. His goal is to develop innovative solutions to complex problems creating a positive impact in today’s world:
- Strange Development focuses on helping its customers engineer and prototype projects from fuel system components to test fixtures for electrified powertrain systems.
- Alpha-Otto Technologies focuses on developing highly power-dense propulsion systems that utilize carbon neutral fuels. With plans to develop this technology to decarbonize both on and off-road sectors, Alpha-Otto will provide light-weight, clean, efficient, power systems for use in everything from unmanned ariel vehicles (UAVs) to range extenders in hybrid applications.
- Pure Surface Technologies, which was founded during the pandemic, solves the problem of bacteria and virus transfer on door handles with its UV-powered, self-sanitizing door handle.
Looking back on his time at Kettering, John remembers developing a good educational foundation, but also a resilient work ethic that helped him create these companies and associated innovations.
“The foundation of any structure is often unseen and overlooked. However, it is what is most important to the success and longevity of that structure,” he said.
As a student, John embraced Kettering’s fast pace and demanding workload. He typically took 21 credit hours per term, which he believes gave him an ability to function well in high-pressure situations, learn quickly and continue learning outside the classroom. Although not everyone had the same opportunities as John during his time at Kettering, specifically surrounding powertrain engineering.
“I got out old notes from Professor [Craig] Hoff, Professor [Gregorgy] Davis, and Professor [Etim] Ubong and started teaching ‘Lunch and Learn’ powertrain engineering to my employees. There is no other school that prepares you for understanding ICE systems like Kettering,” John said.
When asked what is one thing he felt all Kettering students should experience he said, “A fire alarm in the dorms at 2 a.m.…but speaking from the position of a mechanical engineer, understand what makes money in your line of work.”
“For example,” he continued, “in mechanical engineering, manufacturing is where most companies make their money. It is important to understand how you might fit into their business model and how you will be adding value to it.”
His one piece of advice for current or future Kettering students is to know what your immediate goals are, even if you don’t know where you will be in 20 years. The co-op program at Kettering provides students with opportunities for unofficial mentoring and a chance to find those who are where you wish to go, giving you an opportunity to learn, ask questions and develop your goals. This also gives you the chance to grow your network. Those in the position to help get people into the correct career will only help employee satisfaction and overall innovation.
“Everyone has a unique talent, and in my opinion, the worst thing you can do is not fully utilize that talent,” John said.
To learn more about Strange Development, Alpha-Otto Technologies, and Pure Surface Technologies click the links below.