Giving Back to MEM

Ian Wiese returns to Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program four years after graduating to teach alongside his mentor. 

Ian Wiese was new to Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program in 2016 when he attended his first class taught by Professor Mark Werwath.  

He was awed.  

Ian Wiese “I distinctly remember thinking, ‘I’m so incredibly fortunate to be able to sit through one class period of instruction with this person,’” Wiese said (MEM ‘18).  

Six years later, Wiese now calls his former professor a colleague. Wiese returned to MEM this fall as an adjunct lecturer to co-teach Technology Strategy for Products with Werwath. 

“It’s a distinct pleasure and honor teaching alongside him,” said Wiese, who is president and chief technology officer of Metcovery, a company that seeks to recover residual metal value from solid waste sources. “It was a life goal of mine to be competent enough in my field to be asked to teach a course. I wasn’t expecting it to happen so quickly.”  

The short timespan is a reflection of Wiese’s career growth since graduating from the MEM program. He's been with Metcovery since June 2020, and since then he's helped guide the company as it sought new avenues for expansion. His work with Metcovery led Wiese to be invited to join the Non-Ferrous Founders’ Society Board of Directors in September 2021. 

Around the same time, Wiese was also invited to join the MEM Advisory Board. That opportunity helped him provide guidance to the program regarding industry needs, but now he gets to share his wisdom and experiences directly with MEM students.  

The Technology Strategy course is designed to teach students how to develop business strategy alongside new and emerging technology. Wiese said one of the goals for the class is to stick with what made the MEM program so beneficial to him when he was a student.  

“One of the most valuable aspects of the MEM program for me personally was the fact that it incorporated so many aspects of the 'real world',” Wiese said. “I can bring elements of those situations to bear.” 

Giving back to MEM also aligns with Wiese’s philosophy on life. 

“I have always been a person who equated ability with responsibility,” he said. “I have been blessed with far too many gifts in this life and, as a result, feel quite strongly that I need to seek out opportunities to give back wherever possible. If I can broaden even one student’s perspective through teaching, it will all have been worth it.”  

Not only will it be worth it, as Wiese said, but the experience is even more significant because he gets to educate the next generation of MEM students alongside Werwath, who helped make Wiese's MEM experience so memorable.  

“The MEM program not only laid the foundation that allowed me to grow my career so quickly, but it was even more instrumental in arming me with the tools and skill sets necessary to fully capitalize on each and every opportunity,” Wiese said. “I’m about as passionate about this program as one can be, so to be given so many opportunities to contribute to the furtherance of future MEM graduates is a dream come true.” 

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