We Are Cpp

Eric Schmidt

PolyAlumni July/August 2022

Eric Schmidt

Aerospace Engineering

Class of 1992

Eric Schmidt (’92, aerospace engineering) began his formal connection with Cal Poly Pomona’s mentorship program in 2019 when he joined the Dean’s Leadership Board in the College of Engineering. But Schmidt, president of Exquadrum Inc., an engineering research and development company specializing in rocket technologies in Victorville, says his mentoring work started years earlier — when as a college student he took it upon himself to advise young people in high schools. Since then, he has mentored dozens of students and employees.

Schmidt says many aspiring engineers have posed this question to him: Should I start a master’s program immediately or should I work for a few years first?

His advice: Given the spectrum of career possibilities in engineering, it’s best to work for a while to learn which technical aspect of your career most appeals to you. Then find a master’s program that best fits the chosen “occupational subcategory.”

“Almost without exception,” he says, “the questions and concerns come from younger people whose parents did not go to college or even finish high school.” The parents lack knowledge of college and its opportunities and often do not have the ability to help their children choose a profession or a course of study.