By Jennifer Erb
2016-08-252016-09-01https://wvuieleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/[email protected]WVU IE200px200px
Keith Harvey came to WVU thinking he would be a mining engineer. Coming from Southern WV, mining was the way of life. It was a presentation about Industrial Engineering in his freshmen year that changed his career path.
Keith acknowledges that he took college lightly until his senior year. He attributes his turnaround in college to his classmates. “They were kicking my butt,” Keith acknowledges. But those classmates also were very supportive of him.
When Keith graduated, he had six job offers. He had made his decision to accept a job with one of the prestige companies at the time. He decided to accept a site visit to Kaiser Aluminum because he needed the $90 he would be paid for traveling to their site in Ravenswood. Little did he know that the site visit became the event that changed his career. As is so often true, careers are a matter of fate and making the most of moments of opportunity.
Keith was selected into Kaiser’s manufacturing management development program. Keith wasn’t sure what he wanted to do as he progressed through the program. Eventually he became a technical liaison between Kaiser’s customers and plants. This gave him a perspective that was key to his career.
While Keith progressed steadily in his career, he never actively sought promotions. Promotions came from the results of his work. There were many times when Keith was asked to take on projects with considerable risk. The success on these projects was due to Keith’s ability to put together high performing teams.
A key turning point in Keith’s career was the mentoring he received. Keith was challenged to learn new skills and to look at the big picture. To this day, Keith is driven by metrics and strategy.
West Virginia values have also been keys to Keith’s career. Keith admits that he has worked with people a lot smarter than he is and who have much more prestigious educational backgrounds. But his ability to connect with a diverse variety of people has been a strength he has had. “It’s the values I grew up with that make the difference.”
Keith believes that his Industrial Engineering degree has set the stage for the rest of his life. He wouldn’t trade his time at WVU for anything. Keith says: “I still breathe easier when I come back to West Virginia.”
Keith Harvey is President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr Harvey served as Executive Vice President -Fabricated Products since June 2014 and was named to his current position December 2015. Mr. Harvey joined Kaiser in 1981 as an industrial engineer at the company’s rolling mill in West Virginia. He subsequently held increasingly responsible positions in engineering and sales at several Kaiser locations and was named a Vice President in 1994. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University.