17 Jul Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2003 Scholar Theo Chapman
Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova.
Name: Theo Chapman
Boettcher Scholar Year: 2003
College(s), Degree(s): University of Denver, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Master of Business Administration
Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation?
I have been a proposal engineer at Custom Instrumentation Services Corp. (CiSCO) since March of 2016. We provide the equipment and software necessary for power plants, refineries and other operations to monitor and report their emissions data to the EPA. My favorite aspect of my job is that no project is ever identical to another – some are relatively simple while others are complex. This has also been the first job of my career where the focus is on business development as compared to design and construction.
What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now?
Being a Denver native and spending most of my career in Colorado, everyone recognizes the Boettcher name. For me, I take it as a personal challenge to live up to that name each day by working hard, giving back, cultivating new relationships, learning as much as possible in a variety of realms and disciplines, welcoming constructive criticism to be better and doing my best to make a positive impact in my organizations and surrounding community.
Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work.
I am a Boettcher Foundation Alumni Ambassador, a Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) board member, the Black Alumni Association president at the University of Denver as well as an active alumnus of the Pioneer Leadership Program and the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science. I am also a graduate and alumni advisory committee member of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado Chamber Connect program, as well as an alumnus of the New Leaders Council Fellowship. I look forward to future work with the Daniels College of Business advisory board and reconnecting with the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists (CABPES).
What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field?
Never stop asking questions. The more you develop and learn, the more you realize just how much you don’t know, which will keep you humble and hungry for new knowledge. Network with the intention of doing something for someone else instead of looking for what they can do for you. Also, network with everyone, from your fellow engineers to the accountants to human resources to the CEO to the custodians. Everybody has an important role, and if you take any of those roles away, the organization does not function properly. Show respect to everyone. Period.
If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?
I would have dinner with my family members who are no longer here – grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers and mentors – so that I can be reminded of advice that has been forgotten, gain new advice to share with others, reminisce on the memories we had, laugh until it hurts and earn their ultimate stamp of approval on whether or not I’m doing a good job in this game called life.