Entrepreneurial Alums: Outside the Box

by Jordan Skomer ('16)

In a constantly-evolving technological world, “every workplace, every nation” looks very different. Gone for many are the days of a 9-to-5, clock-in-and-out, position at a cubicle. The world of remote work, virtual meetings, and startup companies is here to stay. We are thrilled to see many of our alumni jump headfirst into this world with the same LeTourneau vigor and creativity that our founder demonstrated as he entered the working field over 100 years ago.

One recent graduate who loves the challenge of problem-solving and meeting client needs in this new era is Jordan Skomer. Jordan received a B.S. in Computer Science & Engineering Technology in 2016 and has spent the last seven years working as a technical architect/programmer, primarily in the DFW area. He lives in Denton, TX, with his wife, Emily, where they enjoy frequently hosting their friends for games, food, and fellowship in their home. Jordan is excited by the opportunity the future holds for learning, collaborating, evolving, and challenging the status quo.

jordan-skomer.jpgWhat is your current role and position?

I currently work for my own company and directly with a parent company to provide a wide range of services across varying industries. Our focus has shifted to providing guidance, leadership, and anything in between to startups. In layman’s terms, our clients come to us with ideas, and we help them get off the ground with the end goal of eventually handing over a fully-functioning company. I primarily assist/oversee anything technically-related, such as architecture, leadership, guidance, and recommendations. We've found over the years that the startup space has grown increasingly complex and as such is filled with pitfalls, less-than-trustworthy companies, and an overwhelming amount of choices. All this caused us to pivot to the philosophy we have today as we grew tired of being the ones to come in and clean up after our clients were mishandled by another company.

What are some lessons you’ve learned working in the real world?

Some of the “most” important lessons I’ve learned are as follows (I say “most” important because there are many lessons to learn in the real world, and that’s what makes it challenging and interesting):

Never be afraid to ask questions or admit when you don’t know something. Always get it in writing. Your title/job/position is not directly tied to who you are as a person. Success isn’t defined by where you work, who you know, or how much you make. Just because you know that you’re right doesn’t mean you have to act like it. Be true to yourself and learn (and stick to) your limits. Truly listening is better than waiting for your turn to talk. Your age is not a weakness (although others may view it as such). Don’t be afraid to challenge “the way it always has been”.

The list can go on and on, but all of these lessons would have taken many more years to learn (or never would have been learned) without the foundation and opportunities I was given while at LeTourneau. The world is in need of a new generation of thinkers to solve our ever growing problems. The way it’s always been isn’t cutting it, and there is the need for change. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions, but with everything you do, do it with the respect and grace you would want bestowed upon you.

What was the most meaningful part of your LeTourneau experience and why?

Hands down the most meaningful part of my experience was forming relationships, whether those were relationships with professors or all of the lifelong friendships that sprouted from my time at LeTourneau. As I've worked across nearly every sector of business, I have come to realize that those two things are extremely rare in the collegiate space. I do not know who I would be today without my time at LeTourneau, and as I grow, I cherish my time there more and more.

How did your time at LeTourneau help shape you into the professional you are today?

The biggest thing that has given me an edge (especially in the very beginning of my career) would have to be the vast amount of hands-on learning my courses provided. This is yet another thing I have noticed that is incredibly rare but immensely helpful professionally. It allows you to start with a leg up since you have accomplished more things than most people in your same field/major. In addition, the level at which the professors make themselves available to students is phenomenal, and they have all of my respect and gratitude for everything they have done and continue to do.

It is hard to put into words just how much of an impact LeTourneau has had on my professional and personal life. It is almost an understatement to say that I would not be the person I am today without the time I spent at LETU. If you're a current student, I highly recommend branching outside of your major and making connections with students you may not normally connect with (and taking advantage of all of the AMAZING international programs LETU offers). Not only will this make you a more rounded individual (an understanding of how things work outside of your degree of focus is a great tool to have in the industry), but it is yet another thing that makes LeTourneau so special. The world is changing rapidly and is in desperate need of new thinkers that aren't burdened with egos or preconceived notions and are ready to change the world; thinkers like you. Stay curious, and don't be afraid to make mistakes.