Manchester guides alumni couple to Zimmer Biomet

Chris Friend ’07 and Andrea Graft ’08 Friend are enjoying successful careers at Zimmer Biomet, the medical device manufacturer in Warsaw, Ind. They say they wouldn’t be where they are without Manchester.
 “Part of the reason why we give to Manchester is that I think that we found such a value in it,” says Chris, whose degree is in marketing. “Not only the education, but also the personal connections we’ve made. Manchester is the place where I grew as a person. I found myself.”

The senior product manager at Zimmer Biomet says MU’s academics and faculty are excellent. “There were a number of professors that you felt like you had a close attachment to,” he says. “I think they were generally invested in you doing well and performing well and would spend extra time with you.”
Andrea, now Zimmer Biomet’s global hip reconstruction product manager, agrees. “Without Manchester we wouldn’t have had any of those connections and the networking,” she says.

Andrea started in the natural sciences at Manchester, eventually switching to business with a major in marketing and a minor in environmental studies. “Manchester is a great community that will help and support students with whatever their ambitions are,” she says. 

Networking is important, says Andrea, who got her first job at DePuy, another medical device company in Warsaw, through a friend of Heather Clark ’97 Twomey, associate professor of accounting at MU.

Andrea says that networking at Manchester is “very natural” and doesn’t feel forced. “People know each other and stay in the community,” she says.  “It definitely is why we are where we are and why we give back to help others have the same opportunity.”

The Friends’ careers involve travel, too.  In 2014, Zimmer Biomet gave them the chance to live in France for six months. “Because of the industry we are in and the jobs we are in, it gave us that opportunity,” Andrea says. “We wouldn’t have had that with other types of employment.” Chris calls France the most beautiful country in the world. 

Chris and Andrea would come back to Manchester if they could. “I would go back in a heartbeat,” says Chris, reflecting on his positive experience at the University. “You develop bonds and friendships that last for a lifetime.”

By Tiana Maclin ’17