Duane Nelles, '66, Brings Message to Economics & Management Students
Duane Nelles, '66, returned to the Albion College campus in late March with a simple message for economics and management students.
"Things will always change. You have to be educated and nimble," Nelles said.
After earning his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1968, Nelles began his accounting career in the Detroit office of what was then Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). He was transferred to start the firm's San Diego office in 1972. Nelles advanced to partner in 1974, and he spent the next 14 years serving large and small clients as well as handling many of the firm's administrative functions.
Nelles proved flexible, however, in 1987 when he left the practice of accounting to join a neighbor who had made many successful investments. As a venture capitalist, Nelles served on the board of directors of Qualcomm, and he provided initial funding and consultation as it was starting up. He has remained on Qualcomm's board since 1988 and has witnessed the company's growth into one of the global leaders in wireless telecommunications.
"I'm a conservative guy by nature, but I'm all about risk," Nelles said. "We started Qualcomm out of nothing and watching it grow has been a treat."
In addition to participating in several classes during his visit with his wife, Gail, Nelles also took time to meet with President Donna Randall and her advisers about the implementation of Albion's strategic plan. He is pleased with the focus of blending classroom learning with real-world experience.
"Donna's plan for Albion is superb, and it will place Albion on sound footing," Nelles said.
Education must teach students how to think, he added, and encourage them to maintain a broad perspective.