Kettering University experience gave graduate confidence level to explore new careers, travel the world

From engineering to public affairs to the entertainment industry and now author, Val Grubb ‘90’s wanderlust has led her down a path to many passions throughout the years.

From engineering to public affairs to the entertainment industry and now author, Val Grubb ‘90’s wanderlust has led her down a path to many passions throughout the years.

“I have way too many interests in life. I did the engineering thing. I can tell you that I loved it,” Grubb said. “Then it was sort of been there, done that. What’s next?”

With a few other journeys in between, Grubb published her first book in October, something she always talked about doing but when it became a reality it was a huge milestone for her.

Her book, Planes, Canes, and Automobiles: Connecting with Your Aging Parents through Travel, takes her travels with her mother over the last two decades and includes practical advice of traveling with an aging parent, funny anecdotes and tales of triumphs and trials.

Grubb’s father was a pilot so traveling was in her spirit from a young age. She began traveling with her mother more than 20 years ago, counting more than 300,000 miles traveled with her now 85-year-old mother.

That’s 14 different countries together, including China six times and Thailand three times.


Her mother takes 16 pills a day, uses a wheelchair and has other needs that many aging adults have. When Grubb started looking online for resources for traveling with her mother, she couldn’t find anything. So she decided to become the resources - first with a blog and then with a book.

“When I was 15 I told my mom I wanted to write a book. Thirty-three years later I finally did it and it feels amazing,” Grubb said. “It’s one of those bucket list items you get to check off. It’s almost indescribable.”

No matter the path Grubb chose, Kettering University played a big part in her success, she said.

“I never once regretted going to Kettering. It gave me a solid foundation to make the decisions for what I’m doing,” Grubb said. “You have to have a level of confidence and motivation and just intelligence to figure out how to parlay your skills into a new career. Kettering gave me transferable skills and that confidence level.”

And it was a confident level she needed, because the process to be a published author was not an easy one. Grubb admitted that when she first pitched the idea of her book four years ago, she was rejected by 16 publishers with two suggesting she start with a blog, which she immediately did and titled it, Travel with Aging Parents.

“I went back out a year and a half later to re-pitch the book. I got a couple of bites and signed the publishing deal in June. July of last year I started writing it in earnest,” Grubb said. “I thought it would never get here. It felt like forever. It’s been going on four years and here we are.”

Discipline is a skill that was formed during her time at Kettering. While sitting down and writing 2,000 words a day for her book, it was desperately needed.

Writing is only one of Grubb’s many passions and interests.

She recently signed a second book deal for a business title on managing four generations in the office. The book, Clash of the Generations: Managing the New Workplace Reality, is set to release October 2016.

Val Grubb ‘90’Grubb currently owns a consulting business, Val Grubb & Associates, that she founded in 2008 to offer human resources and operations consulting, and executive training and coaching.

Her array of career paths started as a Mechanical Engineering major and Electrical Engineering minor at Kettering University.

She did her co-op with Allison Engine Company (now Rolls-Royce Corporation) and continued to work with them for six years after graduation ending her career there as director of public affairs.

Then her wanderlust and itch for a new adventure took her to California to join the entertainment industry as director of operations for InterActiveCorp (IAC), which owns Ticketmaster, Expedia, Match and Home Shopping Network, amongst numerous other properties.

Two years later she was recruited to help found the Oxygen Channel with Oprah Winfrey. She remained with Oxygen as VP of Operations until the company was sold to NBC Universal in November of 2007. She helped integrate the company into NBCU before deciding to branch out on her own.

Now, after 18 years in New York, she has moved to New Orleans.

No matter where life leads Grubb, whether in her professional or personal life, she said her education at Kettering helped her along the way.

“The thing with Kettering is it just gave me to the foundations of critical thinking. I can problem solve,” Grubb said. “In addition to discipline, it’s just flat critical thinking and problem solving that has been the foundation of my success.”

Written By Sarah Schuch | Contact: Sarah Schuch - - (810) 762-9639