Some Kettering University students travel from different cities in Michigan to get their college education in Flint, Mich. Some travel across the country.
Others, like Hector Ledesma ‘65, travel from a different continent. In his case, South America.
Ledesma came to Kettering (then General Motors Institute) on July 31, 1963. Engineering was a field he was very familiar with.
Before coming to Flint, Ledesma was attending LaPlata State University studying Aeronautical Engineering.
It was through General Motors Argentina that he heard about Kettering, a school nearly 6,000 miles away.
While studying Industrial Engineering, Kettering had the structure and order that Ledesma desired.
“Certainly it contributed to my success at my work and personal life but also in other aspects,” he said. “I became a fan of the organization and it contributed to order and cleanliness in both my work and personal life.”
Ledesma was born in Buenos Aires State, Argentina. His family traveled around the State a lot while his father was in the Navy.
In 1962 he joined General Motors Argentina working in the manufacturing department as an engine line inspector. Because of his schooling at LaPlata State University, he was soon promoted.
After hearing about Kettering from one of first three students of General Motors Argentina and learning of a scholarship being offered from a supervisor, Ledesma decided to go for it.
And the experiences he got from traveling to Flint did not disappoint.
He was a member of the International Club, gave several conferences to organizations in the Flint area and Ann Arbor on Argentina and the Spanish language, and addressed the Association of Spanish Professors in Michigan.
His co-op was right next to the university at Chevrolet Flint Manufacturing on Chevrolet Avenue.
There Ledesma received hands-on experience in his field. But his heart belonged to Argentina. After graduation he returned to General Motors Argentina, where he was promoted to Junior Quality Control Engineer in the manufacturing department.
Ledesma had many different job experiences after returning to Argentina, including Assembly Plant for Chevrolet and Bedford trucks, General Electric Argentina, a general manager and Director at several spinning, weaving and dyeing mills, before his retirement in 2006.
Between 1990 and 2006 Ledesma worked pro bono in various positions on the Board of Directors of the “Unión Industrial de Tucuman, UIT” (Union representing all industrialists of Tucuman State), of which he was vice president (2 years) and president (4 years).
While he may be back home in Argentina, a piece of him will also be left at Kettering University. He made sure to make a trip back for the 2000, 2003, 2013 and 2015 Alumni Reunion weekends.
“Once a bulldog, always a bulldog,” Ledesma said.