Rob Hold and Kari Mellina are both alumni of Michigan Engineering. Rob got his degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering in 1996 and Kari followed in his footsteps and got the same degree 3 years later in 1999. They now both work for Super Radiator Coils; Rob as the CEO and president, Kari as the Systems Administrator.
Family (fam-uh-lee, fam-lee) n. a bunch of people who eat dinner peacefully but fight over the TV remote.
Beyond that basic definition, each family has its own special characteristics that set it apart. The Holt family, for instance. It has a connection with the University of Michigan that goes back more than a hundred years – a maize-and-blue bloodline with four generations of highly accomplished alums. The most recent is a brother-sister combo – Rob Holt and Kari Mellina. Both hold engineering degrees from the University of Michigan, which they love to talk about.
Kari (BSE IOE ’99) said that, as kids, she and Rob got Wolverine Fever from their parents. “I remember staying at the Michigan League as a little girl and wearing my navy blue Michigan sweatshirt on a few cold Saturdays. They told us stories about going to The Little Brown Jug when they were in school. Everything seemed to have a Michigan connection, and it was all exciting.”
Rob (BSE IOE’96, MBA ’01) said that “the fever” had more than a little to do with his decision to attend Michigan Engineering. “Their enthusiasm for the Michigan experience worked its way into us. Growing up in the Holt house… we certainly were predisposed to like Michigan. But I ultimately made my choice simply because it was the best all-around school out of the five I was accepted to.”
Kari’s story sounded similar. “Rob was in his final year in industrial engineering when I started at Michigan. I had done a lot of looking, but after a long search, I felt that Michigan was the right fit for me – it just felt like home.”
“Our University and College connections, then and now, are a big part of who we are. Whatever we do, we do blue. Wherever we go, we go blue. We like it like that.”
Rob has particularly fond memories of the Diag on Central Campus. “Walking across it on a beautiful spring day is one of the best memories I have,” he said. “I imagine this is true for a lot of students who attend Michigan, partly because most of them haven’t seen the sun in three months.”
“I have too many great memories to pick just a few,” Kari said. “But off the top of my head I’ll say I was very fond of Greek Week with Alpha Phi sorority. Going to the National Championship Rose Bowl game in 1997 is pretty vivid. Oh… and getting a surprise delivery of six bowls of Zingerman’s chicken soup. They didn’t deliver, but my mom called in an emergency order from Minnesota when I had a terrible cold, one winter. That’s something I won’t forget.”
“We had a great time,” Rob said. “There was Cava Java coffee house, Pizza House and just hanging out with friends. But Michigan Engineering made us work – we put in a lot of book time. Today, I’m president and CEO of Super Radiator Coils, and I can say without any hesitation that a lot of my success is due to Michigan Engineering. In getting my degree I developed problem-solving skills and a work ethic that have helped me to make improvements throughout our organization.”
“I identify with all of that,” said Kari, director of Materials, Systems and Administration at Super Radiator Coils. “What I learned at Michigan has been a platform for my career. Plus, the College gave me a huge network of resources to draw from – the successful alumni spread throughout the world, for one thing. I’ve also found that there’s a lot of respect in the business world for a Michigan Engineering degree.”
“We truly bleed maize and blue,” Rob said. “Kari and I – our entire family – we want to see Michigan Engineering thrive. So we stay engaged as much as possible. There’s simply no better place to prepare yourself for life’s challenges.”
“We have to give some props to our parents, too,” Kari said. “They taught us how to get the most out of the Michigan experience – ‘NEVER miss a class’ was something they said over and over.”
Rob laughed. “I still have an occasional nightmare about showing up for my final exam in calculus, having not studied or attended class all semester, knowing the final would be 60 percent of my grade, and my teacher thinking I had dropped the class. In other words, the best I could hope for was a D.”
Kari smiled. “There… that’s another example of Holt family memories with a Michigan twist. Our University and College connections, then and now, are a big part of who we are. Whatever we do, we do blue. Wherever we go, we go blue. We like it like that.”