Marquette University Alumni Association Alumni National Awards Weekend
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John Rakolta, JR., ENG '70

After graduating from the College of Engineering, John Rakolta, Jr., completed the Harvard Business School’s Smaller Company Management Program.

He began his business career in 1971 with Walbridge Aldinger, a national construction company where he currently serves as chairman and chief executive officer.

Under John’s leadership, the company has grown 50 times in size and has geographically expanded, both domestically and internationally. It is the world leading construction firm specializing in the designing, building, management and development of large-scale projects for the automotive industry and operates in the United States, Mexico, Canada and Romania.

John, who serves on Marquette’s Engineering Advisory Council, says the technical knowledge and problem-solving techniques he learned at the university have been invaluable in his career.

But it is the “character” of a Marquette education that has helped him discover his “keys to happiness,” including “having faith in a supreme being; setting righteous goals; working hard at all you do; magnifying church callings; and enjoying the journey.”

While John enjoys his work with Walbridge Aldinger, he is especially proud of his service as the chairman of New Detroit, a not-for-profit race relations organization dedicated to eliminating racism.

“Experience, both favorable and unfavorable, boosts one’s confidence to challenge status quo and become stronger in mind and soul,” he says.

John hopes, when he departs this life, that he has left the world a better place.

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