Michael L. Eskew

For his outstanding record of accomplishment in the package-distribution industry, the Schools of Engineering are proud to present the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award to Michael L. Eskew.

Senior Vice President, Engineering
United Parcel Service
BSIE 1972
[Michael L. Eskew, current]

On his industrial engineering major

Choosing Purdue was easy: my dad attended Purdue, and I was from Indiana. I'd been involved with Purdue football since I was a kid.

I had to select an engineering discipline after my freshman year, and when I looked at the curriculum, I really thought that industrial engineering provided one of the best general backgrounds for the technical world that I thought we would live in. In industrial engineering, in addition to all the basic engineering core courses, we also took electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering courses. It's been a good background.

On his college years

I enjoyed my college career. I was president of the Kappa Sig house, and I worked on the interfraternity conference. Those were interesting days the late '60s and early '70s with the Vietnam War going on and Purdue athletics enjoying a great run. Mackey Arena opened my freshman year when we almost beat UCLA, something no one could do in those days. I even remember attending a Purdue basketball game during the lottery draft drawing.

[Michael L. Eskew, college days]

Purdue is a great place a "ladder" school, if you will. It took me from the small town of Vincennes, Indiana, exposed me to an awful lot of bright people, and showed me the world beyond that small town. I made lifelong friends who influenced me for the better. I took advantage of everything that Purdue offered.

On his career

I have really been lucky, because I worked on a number of start-up activities. I was involved in UPS's air operations in the beginning through planning, operations, and aircraft acquisition. I was involved in our activities when we made our move to technology. When we opened our European operations in 1976, I had the responsibility for planning in Germany. My IE background has served me well.

Last summer's strike at UPS was awfully frustrating. We didn't expect it to happen, and there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. However, we did keep 500,000 packages moving every day, and we kept our international operation going with 40 aircraft. We also got our backlog of medical supplies and other critical shipments delivered. So there was some degree of satisfaction. But it's easy to look at things through the U.S. lens and think things had stopped. The fact was that more than 180 countries in the world were minimally affected by the strike.

On the value of a Purdue engineering degree

I'm proud to be associated with Purdue and to have gone through the engineering curriculum. I've worked with a lot of folks over the years, and I've had a chance to observe the discipline that Purdue gives engineering students, in addition to having experienced it myself. It's interesting to listen to how lawyers answer questions you can tell that that's a reflection of the legal training. When you see a Purdue engineer approach a problem, evaluate alternatives, and then reach a conclusion, you recognize that engineering thought process. I think everybody who's been through the rigor recognizes it, and I think Purdue trains engineers as well as anyone.

On his work with Atlanta's SciTrek museum

I am privileged to serve on the board of directors of the science and technology museum in Atlanta: SciTrek. The museum is now ten years old, and it gives an awful lot of kids in Atlanta a chance to learn that science and math can be fun. One only needs to see the spark in the eyes from a youngster as he or she sees demonstrated principles of gravity, friction, leverage, electricity, or cyberspace to know that SciTrek is a worthwhile activity.

Named an Outstanding Industrial Engineer by the Purdue School of Industrial Engineering.
Received Outstanding Achievement in Management Award from Institute of Industrial Engineers.
Senior Vice President of Engineering, United Parcel Service. Responsible for global engineering activities of world's largest package-distribution company.
Corporate Industrial Engineering Manager, UPS.
District Manager, Central Jersey District. As a result of Mr. Eskew's leadership, UPS won the Quiet Airline Award, Central Jersey District.
Industrial Engineering Manager, UPS Air Group, National Staff. Initiated international air service between the Northeast and six European countries.
Industrial Engineering Manager, Northwest Region, UPS.
Industrial Engineering Manager, Germany, UPS. Responsible for all industrial engineering activities for Germany and for the opening of 39 operating facilities.
Special Assignment, National Staff, Germany, UPS.
IE Supervisor, Nonoperational, Indiana, UPS.
On Car & Driver Supervisor, Indiana, UPS.

BSIE '72, Purdue; Advanced Management Program, Wharton School of Business, U. of Pennsylvania