From designing optical equipment to troubleshooting at a pizza factory, Stevens alumnus Matt Ketschke (B.E. 1995, M.S. 1998) acquired many unique work experiences in his path to his current role as director of The Learning Center, Consolidated Edison, Inc.’s (Con Edison) massive training and development facility. Each one brought him something different.
“I got all the free pizza that I wanted, and that made me a very popular guy in the fraternity, but I never want to taste another slice,” Ketschke joked about his internship at the Ellio’s Pizza manufacturing plant.
A Mechanical Engineering major, varsity baseball player and Delta Tau Delta brother, Ketschke was a member of the Stevens Cooperative Education (Co-op) program, where he held internships at numerous companies during his undergraduate years.
His first position was in a small machine shop where he helped to prototype medical equipment, turning a doctor’s scribbles of an idea into a real device. Next he work at Unilever as a controls engineer, and later at Ellio’s as a production engineer.
Although he valued each of the internship experiences, it wasn’t until his final two Co-op assignments that Ketschke found his calling. He landed at PSE&G, where he did maintenance and outage planning in the company’s power plants, and found that he was strongly drawn to the utilities industry.
“PSE&G was my favorite assignment and had the most to do with what ultimately became my career,” Ketschke said. “I was basically working to ensure everything went smoothly when generating stations were taken offline for overhaul, capital upgrades or other reasons.”
Upon graduation, Ketschke began what was to become a 16-year – and counting – career at Con Edison, one of the nation’s largest energy companies. Initially, he secured placement in its 18-month Management Intern Program, which allowed him to rotate between different parts of the organization with other trainees and gain exposure to all aspects of the business.
“Not only did I get to work on the leadership qualities I would need to become a supervisor, but also to learn the hands-on technical skills Con Edison’s union utility workers need, such as maintaining electrical equipment and splicing cable,” said Ketschke.
Since graduating, Ketschke served in a number of supervisory positions within Con Edison’s Electric Operations division. One of his most important roles was as the general manager in charge of the design and operation of the electric distribution system in Brooklyn and Queens. He also served as the project engineer in the reconstruction of Con Edison’s infrastructure after the 9-11, as well as spearheaded a program to test all of Con Edison’s structures and streetlights for stray voltage. In the meantime, Ketschke earned his M.S. from Management at Stevens and his MBA from Columbia University through Con Edison’s continuing education program.
For the past three years, Ketschke has been on a different sort of path as director of The Learning Center, where much of his own training took place immediately after he was hired. Situated on a 9-acre site in Queens, The Learning Center is essentially a college that develops all entry-level Con Edison employees in areas such as operations, safety and leadership, and also conducts proficiency testing. Last year, 8,000 union and 5,000 management personnel passed through its doors.
“It is rewarding to be involved in introducing new employees to Con Edison and kick-starting what will hopefully to long-term careers with the company,” said Ketschke, who oversees The Learning Center’s 125 instructors and support personnel.
Ketschke is one of the rare people in this day and age who could see himself retiring from the company that hired him right out of college.
“I’m lucky to have had many opportunities to move around, tackle new challenges and get a better understanding of the whole company. I don’t see myself ever getting bored,” he said.
If he does, Ketschke has plenty to keep him busy outside of work. A father of two who resides with his wife and sons in Cranford, N.J., Ketschke is a distance runner who only recently stopped playing competitive baseball. He is currently training for his first marathon with the hope of checking something off of his bucket list now that he has turned 40.