Matt Espe, ’80, graduated from the College of Business and Economics with a degree in Marketing. Espe was appointed Armstrong President and CEO in July 2010. His 30 years of experience in sales, marketing, distribution and management of global manufacturing businesses led him to Armstrong from his previous position at Ricoh Americas Corporation, a subsidiary of Ricoh Company, Ltd., where he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to this role, Matt was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IKON Office Solutions, Inc., a $4 billion office equipment distributor and services provider with 24,000 employees. IKON was acquired by Ricoh in 2008 when Matt led the $2 billion merger of the companies. Previously, Matt worked for General Electric for 22 years and lived all over the world with his wife, the former Lori Limbaugh, a CBE accounting alumna, and their four children.
“I credit the University of Idaho with everything I am today. I was a late bloomer and whatever development occurred for me, occurred for me at Idaho. I learned the value of teamwork, trust and accountability. It was a defining period in my life and I would not be where I am today without my experience at the University of Idaho – which is why I give my time and resources to the school.
“When I went to the College of Business and Economics, Dean McQuillen taught a capstone course on business policy. What impressed me was that it was deeply rooted in the real world and brought a real-world perspective to us as students.
It has served me well. When I was at IKON and working on the merger with Ricoh, it was basically like working a business case study. There were no ultimate ‘right’ answers. I used what I learned at Idaho: to rely on data, intuition, my colleagues and a combination of input. As a result, the stock price was a big win for shareholders and employees!
“In the College of Business and Economics, students have a terrific opportunity to interact with faculty. The faculty are always available and they really care about their students. They create as much of a real-world environment as they can to prepare the students. When I graduated, I left the University full of confidence, excited about the future and feeling anything was possible.
“I donate to the College of Business and Economics because I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my experiences at CBE. Ten years before I got there, people made investments from which I benefited. So as alums, it’s only right for us to make a similar investment in the future and to create opportunities for the young men and women coming after us.”
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