If you ask Bob Alvine what it is that he likes to do best, he says bringing people together toward a common goal but with a diversity of viewpoints and an abundance of their personal assets that will make the experience richer for all involved. This may be why he has given so generously of his time and talents to so many different organizations over a span of 50 years, bringing to each the lessons he visit us learned in life and in business.
Alvine, who was born in Newark, N.click here. in 1938, earned his BA generic valium honors in science, majoring in chemistry and chemical engineering with minors in physics and biology from Rutgers University. He did postgraduate work visit us Syracuse University and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School executive program for management development. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of New Haven.
Following graduation with top honors from the U.S. Army Signal College, Alvine served in the Signal Corps, where he had top-secret security clearance for his assignment during the Cuban missile crisis. He serves on the panel for the U.S. National Technology Transfer Center of the Missile Defense Agency and NASA, and is a member of the Harvard Business School Club of New York and Connecticut.
Beginning his career with Celanese Corp., where he spent 17 years, Alvine rose through the ranks to hold dual positions as vice president and general manager of the company’s worldwide multi-division subsidiary and in a leadership role on the company’s Worldwide Strategy and Acquisitions Committee. During the next ten years with Uniroyal Corp. in Naugatuck he held top-level posts including CEO of its billion-dollar Engineered Products and Services Group, while also serving as chief corporate officer for worldwide strategy, capital formation and allocation, mergers and acquisitions, and research and development.
In his last position at Uniroyal as CEO, president and chief operating officer, Alvine led the company and its 32,000 employees in 1985 in the largest management buyout in history to date, and remains a principal of Uniroyal Holdings, Inc.
Alvine says he began his work serving on more than two dozen for-profit boards of directors that primarily had a business focus. He is a life trustee and chair emeritus of the Jackson Laboratory, where he has led several Board of Governors’ Trustees committees and the Jax Mice and Services Committee for the past five years. He was chairman of the Board of Governors of the University of New Haven (UNH) for six years and remains on that board as chairman emeritus. At UNH, he founded the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science in 1998, which he continues to chair, and also founded the university’s Alvine Engineering Professional Effective Enrichment Program and the Alvine Business Professional Effective Enrichment Program.
It was at UNH that he met Henry C. Lee, chief emeritus of the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven and former chief of the state’s crime lab in Meriden, with whom he became good friends.
“I’ve know Bob for many years,” says Lee. “Over the years he has made quite a contribution to our institute here, where he is chairman of the board. He developed a business plan for the institute and made a contribution to it. He is an excellent leader and someone who easily gets along with everybody.”
Lee, along with Alvine, formed what he calls “The 1938 Club,” which includes former UNH president and Third District congressman Lawrence J. DeNardis and former Pilot Pen CEO Ron Shaw — all of whom were born in 1938.
“Every year we get together — not to talk about business, but to share some of our life experiences,” says Lee, who still puts in 16 hours a day at the institute that bears his name. “I’ve learned so much from him. He genuinely cares about people and he cares about students. It’s been a wonderful experience working with him.”
“Since 1994, Bob Alvine has provided invaluable service to Long Wharf Theatre as a member of the Board of Trustees,” said Charles Kingsley, chairman of Long Wharf Theatre’s Board of Trustees. “First and foremost, he has served as chair of the board’s finance committee, helping us make tremendous improvements in our financial reporting and in our development of the budget. He was also a member of the search committee which recently hired LWT Managing Director Joshua Borenstein. Bob brings a very high level of expertise in both the business and not-for-profit arenas and we are so thankful for his contributions to our work. It is a pleasure working with him and this honor is much deserved.”
Alvine remains active with the Naval War College Foundation, is past chair of the board for the National Theater of the Deaf, and served on the board of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York. He has served in one capacity or another on numerous business, civic, military and trade associations including the National Association of Corporate Directors, of which he was a charter member, the National Institute of Board Chairs, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association for Corporate Growth, the Naval Institute and the Newcomen Society for the History of Engineering and Technology.
He is also a charter member of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation. Most recently he served on the boards of Kaman Corp., EDO Corp. and the Public Commission on Government Waste established by President Ronald Reagan. He currently serves on the board of the state of Connecticut Life Sciences Group and is treasurer of Long Wharf Theatre, where he also serves as chair of the finance committee and is also a member of the executive, human-resources and compensation committees.
Obviously not a person to let any grass grow under his feet following his leadership at Uniroyal, Alvine founded i-Ten Management Corp.and i-Ten Capital Corp in 1987 where he serves as Chairman and CEO and completing, turning around and growing numerous private equity and venture capital acquisitions that became significant successes. With his son, Robert James they founded several family-run businesses that his daughter Laurie Anne later joined.
His son also caught and demonstrated the entrepreneurial bug deciding to leave top corporate world roles and pursue one of his passions, the automobile business with the help of senior Alvine. As a consequence Robert James has grown Premier Subaru and Premier Kia into leading franchises as well as becoming the Chair of Subaru Dealer groups and Vice Chairman of the Subaru Advisory Board. Sounds like " a chip off the old block" so to speak.
Alvine shares his advice with young people coming into their own. “Do well at what you love and what you’re doing in your line of business, because the better you do in what you know best, the more you will have proven yourself to have the knowledge and the capability to contribute,” he says. “In the process of doing well, and having the proper recognition for that, you’ll begin to understand where some interests lie within you that you may not have had a chance to pursue.”
Alvine advises that if one’s interests are in the not-for-profit sector, it should be in an area one enjoys.
“Because you want to make a difference,” he says. “It’s just like the philosophy that, whatever you love, you do well. And if you love a certain kind of business, as a consequence of that, you can offer your experience in that subject to others. It’s not just about writing checks. It’s saying that you’re willing to get involved somehow and then you go from that involvement to helping others.”
His own sweeping range of interests — science, engineering, medicine, education, music, theater, the arts and military affairs — have steered him toward the organizations that he helped found and with which he continues to be involved.
Alvine believes that the addition of the Jackson Laboratory to the University of Connecticut Medical Center in Farmington is one that will have a lasting impact on the state’s focus on biomedical and high-tech industries and bring many new jobs to the state.
“It’s a world-renowned institution that is absolutely remarkable, the most advanced lab in the world when it comes to research on genomes,” Alvine explains. “The lab mice they created are the model for doing all the research on genetics and are provided to over 12,500 labs throughout the world. And here we are, in Connecticut, launching the first major move toward personalized medicine. It has enormous implications. It will be a huge catalyst for the state in biomedical and high-tech areas.”
He views the current worldwide economic crisis as part of historical economic cyclical swings, but he considers this one to be different.
“We’ve had other recessions, but I think this is different in three ways,” Alvine asserts. “First, at no time before in our history was the world so connected. In the past, when one country got into [financial] trouble, it didn’t ripple down through other countries as it has this time. Because the connections are so significant, it’s hard to make a turnaround by curing just one country. We have to make the whole problem turn around at one time. Otherwise it will just keep pulling us all down.”
Alvine cites as a second issue the accelerated pace of business driven by furiously evolving technologies.
“It’s more difficult to put teeth into something and allow it to build, because it gets substituted for something else, it gets changed, and as a consequence, keeping up with every change is very difficult,” he notes. “And finally, the world political environment is in a different boat than it’s ever been in and the United States — still a world leader in many ways — has also lost a lot. Whether we can get that back, I’m not sure. We have to position ourselves on some real solid ground so that whatever happens in the future, we will have our own capabilities to protect ourselves.”
Alvine, who lives in Woodbridge, has enjoyed playing tennis and golf in the past but now plays piano, enjoys woodworking, theater and art, and likes to garden and travel, the latter with a focus on history.
“I love traveling but with a historical bent,” he says. “We’ve traveled to Italy three times now and just love to focus on the joy of seeing different things and different places in the world. Traveling is a continuous education.”
“I love music,” he says. “I played piano in Carnegie Hall, but over time I stopped it. One of the things I’ll do is get back to it.”
If he can find the time.
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