Don Hubbartt, ’96, M.B.A. ’01, Mentors and Solves Problems Through Work and Volunteering
By Eva Richards
As director of compensation at Siemens USA and a member of the NIU Alumni Association’s (NIUAA) Board of Directors, Don Hubbartt, ’96, M.B.A. ’01, finds fulfillment in helping employees plan their career paths at his company. He is also happy to guide students through his campus mentorship roles. The NIUAA caught up to Don to discuss his work and how NIU made an impact on his HR career.
NIUAA: How did you decide on HR Management as your career when you were a new college student?
Hubbartt: After graduation from high school, I headed into Northern Illinois University. I arrived on campus not really knowing what to expect at the fresh age of 17 years old. I had the early idea of a career in Human Resources Management, having been a part of my dad's HR consulting career and knowing that my mom and uncle also graduated from NIU. It was definitely a decision that worked out very well for me both in the short and long run, being part of the Huskie family.
NIUAA: In a few sentences, please share the impact NIU has had on your life.
Hubbartt: First, my undergraduate degree in management, and the internship and career placement services on campus worked very well for me. The University did a great job providing resources for me to seek early options in my career path. Immediately upon graduating, I pursued an M.B.A. with NIU, at the Hoffman Estates and Naperville locations. That also was a great experience and provided great networking. Today, I “give back” both in speaking on campus in Dr. Bishop’s HR/Compensation class but also via my participation in the NIU Alumni Association Board, which has been great.
NIUAA: How did NIU prepare you for your current profession?
Hubbartt: NIU's HR management track within the College of Business was outstanding when I was there and continues to be great. I contribute to this program annually, by making a trip to the HR/Compensation class run by Dr. Terry Bishop, who was also a professor in the mid-’90s when I attended NIU. So, the teacher’s student now helps the teacher, which is a pretty cool way to help give back. The students are outstanding and ask great questions.
NIUAA: Did anyone from NIU have a significant impact on you?
Hubbartt: Definitely. At the risk of leaving anyone out, I'll start with early on in my undergraduate HR track. Both Dr. Bishop and Prof. Jim Ward, who is now retired. I was lucky enough to have many professors who were very impactful, shaping my thoughts on a career in HR. There were many great professors in the M.B.A. track as well.
In recent years, I've had the pleasure to meet President Lisa Freeman and her staff, I think the leadership team in place at the University is in a great position to do some exciting things now and in the near future.
NIUAA: What are you most proud of in your professional career?
Hubbartt: I am proud of having been a part of the Siemens HR and compensation team for the past 13 years. It has been a journey like I never imagined. We are part of a great culture at a company that is literally solving the world’s challenges around energy use, healthcare technology, transportation and green energy, and buildings and how people use them. I am most proud of the people that I work with. I’m proud of helping them along their career paths and like to see them grow. Mentoring, helping others and problem-solving are huge parts of what I do.
NIUAA: What would you want to tell current and prospective students about NIU?
Hubbartt: There feels a recent trend in Illinois to leave the state and look outside of the state for college. I get it, but for those that want to stay local, NIU is a fantastic option. Chicago remains a great community for work opportunity coming out of NIU. The culture on campus is fun with many options for students. I like the new investments in buildings, dorms and facilities being put in. New Hall Community Center and the renovated Holmes Student Center are especially amazing.
NIUAA: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
Hubbartt: In addition to coming back to campus to help teach HR, I also mentor one student per semester. NIU has a great program for mentoring. I help with resumes, sharing my networks and offering other learning opportunities, such as exposure to SHRM and WorldatWork. For me, volunteering is all about making connections, meeting new and interesting people, helping others grown and also learning from them. I probably learn as much by volunteering as others learn from my volunteering. It’s a productive exchange.
If you are looking for other ways to be an NIU volunteer, please check out NIU Nexus, or contact Liz McKee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-753-7400.