Engineer and U.S. Navy veteran Scott Holweger, '97 of Spring Hills, Kansas, works as a design engineering team leader at Garmin in the automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) segment. He transferred into the MBA@Nebraska
program to specialize in international business and apply what he learned to improve communications with his clients and partners worldwide.
"When you sit in your car and look at what used to be the radio, there's so much more to it now. It's information and entertainment, so we call it infotainment. I manage a group of individual contributors, engineers and technicians, and we design the infotainment for new cars," he said.
Holweger started as an accounting major at Nebraska. He then left to spend nearly four years in the U.S. Navy before returning to earn an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering.
"I found out the reason I was good at accounting was because I'm really good at math. Once I learned about electronics in the Navy, I knew I needed to be an engineer," he said.
An engineer at Motorola and Lester Electrical, Holweger worked with semiconductors and designed cell phones and industrial battery chargers. Then in 2019, a contract with BMW created a growth spurt at Garmin, and Holweger joined the company.
"It was the largest contract Garmin had ever signed and it was roughly a billion dollars' worth of product over the course of several years," Holweger said. "My current customers are BMW and Honda."
He's also worked with Daimler (Mercedes Benz), Toyota and Ford. Garmin as factories located in China, Poland, Taiwan and the U.S.
"I communicate on a regular basis with people from a very wide range of countries, including Germany, England, Spain, Croatia, Romania, Japan and countless others," Holweger said. "I deal with globalization on a daily basis, and that is why I wanted to specialize in international business with my MBA."
Last spring, Holweger took Nebraska's Leadership in a Global Context course (MNGT 828) taught by Elina Ibrayeva, associate professor in management and three-time recipient of the college’s Online Graduate Programs Teaching Award.
"My philosophy is to provide a world-class education. I collect the best frameworks, models and ideas, and then I use solid pedagogy and technology so that practicing practitioners can really benefit," Ibrayeva said. "Scott shared how his communications with his international customers and clients have improved significantly since taking the course."
Holweger said the course, which required readings such as the book "The Culture Map," provided "the best introduction to international culture" and helped him build better relationships with his numerous global customers and contacts.
Due to dealing with a worldwide supply chain in his Garmin role, he also earned a Supply Chain Management Graduate Certificate at Nebraska. He has managed multiple shortage situations across products.
"The semiconductor shortages over the last couple of years have been especially difficult for the automotive industry through most of 2021 and 2022. At that time, we were having daily meetings to discuss how we would find and qualify the components necessary to continue production and/or how we would redesign our systems/circuits to manage the various shortages that were occurring," he said. "It's getting better and through all of those difficulties, my department did not shut down any of our customer factories, though we were within days a couple of times. Most of our competition cannot make that statement."
Starting his MBA in a face-to-face program near his home in Kansas that went online during the pandemic, Holweger shared how he decided that if he had to be an online student, he was going to find the best program with the highest return on investment.
“When researching MBA programs, I found MBA@Nebraska was very highly ranked for value for the money. It also has a great veteran’s discount that helps on the financial side,” said Holweger, who is married to Shannon with three children - Austin, Alex and Jasmine. "I'm learning more than I ever thought I would, and I take one eight-week course in the second term of the fall and two in the spring. Then I take my summers off as there is just too much life to be had."
Published: November 10, 2023