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Former student and venture capitalist Ray Rothrock.
Ray Rothrock. | Image: Kimberly Ikpo

The Craig and Galen Brown Engineering Honors Program recently held its annual Fall Industry Night at Texas A&M University. The event allowed engineering honors students to hear from industry leaders about life after college. Former nuclear engineering student Ray Rothrock, venture capitalist and RedSeal CEO, gave the night’s keynote speech, followed by a panel of experts who answered students’ questions and provided real-world advice to the audience. 

Rothrock began by explaining the complex nature of the world’s current cyber war. As a cybersecurity expert, Rothrock is privy to the resources and techniques available to today’s hackers. He uses that knowledge to help businesses and corporations proactively protect themselves from upcoming cyberattacks with his company RedSeal, which works to bring digital resilience and confidence to organizations. Rothrock proved that an engineering degree can open up endless doors for students, whether they decide to pursue a career in computer engineering or nuclear engineering.

Student holds Ray Rothrock's book, Digital Resilience
Student listens to Ray Rothrock while holding Rothrock's book, Digital Resilience. | Image: Kimberly Ikpo

In addition to being an investor, Rothrock is also an advocate for nuclear energy, climate change and education. In his free time, Rothrock is a bassist in a cover band named Up and to the Right, alongside his son and other investors (all of the best things in New York i.e., stocks, increase up and to the right, he explained).

 “What’s great about industry night is that we have the unique opportunity to hear from CEOs directly,” said Antoine Joubran, sophomore engineering honors student in the department of chemical engineering. “Not only do we receive invaluable career advice, but there’s also a more human element to these nights that we tend to miss in the classroom, such as the importance of having hobbies outside of engineering, like playing the bass and spending time with your family.” 

As Rothrock outlined the trajectory of his career for the audience, he suggested unique ways to decide whether or not a company is worth working for, since many of the students in attendance would soon begin attending career fairs and researching companies to internship with. “Read the writing on the bathroom stalls,” said Rothrock. “I mean that literally. Find out how employees feel about upper management., because it will reveal a lot about how a business is operated.”

Ray Rothrock gives his keynote speech.
Ray Rothrock delivers his keynote speech. | Image: Kimberly Ikpo

Before opening up the floor to his fellow panelists, John Walsh of Schlumberger and Claire Rubrecht-Robertson of Qorvo, Rothrock offered the best advice that he accumulated throughout the years, such as the importance of being a lifelong learner. “Never stop learning,” said Rothrock. “I’ve learned more in my past year as a CEO than I did even when I was in college.”

 Rothrock also encouraged students to take courses in sociology and psychology to better understand how people work and learn. “I haven’t always needed to integrate or differentiate equations in the workplace,” said Rothrock. “But I’ve always managed people, and it’s necessary to be able to communicate and work well with your colleagues.”

Like a true investor, Rothrock ended with a message to all of the aspiring entrepreneurs in the audience: “And if you’ve already got a great idea, I’ve got a check,” he said.