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Matt Fransted holds his award and stands with Porter S. Garner III ‘79 (left) and Dara Hegar ‘95 (right).
Matt Fransted '10 (middle) is a leader in business and nuclear engineering industries as a client manager and strategic advisor for MPR Associates. | Image: Courtesy of Texas A&M University Association of Former Students

Inspired by his love for building and learning with Legos, Matt Fransted knew he wanted to be an engineer at seven years old. Opportunity struck when he received a phone call from the Navy during his junior year of high school, looking to recruit nuclear officers. They showed Fransted that his boyhood dreams could be realized, and after taking a nuclear engineering introductory course as a freshman at Texas A&M University, he was completely hooked.

Fransted has accomplished a considerable amount of professional success since then, becoming a client manager and strategic advisor for MPR Associates, but his achievements only began after facing adversity and loss. In his second semester of freshman year, he failed two classes after his mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

“It was a learning experience trying to get my grades up,” Fransted said. “It was an opportunity to figure out if I wanted to be at Texas A&M or not. I went home for the summer, worked, came back and had to take those classes again. Sophomore year was a lot of figuring out how to study if it doesn't come easy to you.”

Fransted did just that. He ended up passing all his classes through a combined process of writing down notes in a study guide — whether it was eight or 18 pages of information — to retain information and going to places like the Student Computing Center and the Sterling C. Evans Library Annex to study, away from the distractions of his dorm room. Fransted made up for those classes with a strong work ethic that paid off when he received his bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering in 2010.

After graduating from Texas A&M, he served in the Navy for eight years. He had been in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets for four years and received a contract from the Navy upon his graduation.

Fostering success through relationships

During his service, he learned that it’s not enough to only produce quality work. Fostering relationships with clients and colleagues is necessary for personal and professional success. He also credits his wife for showing him the value of connecting with others and developing allies in the business world.

“My Navy career and my wife taught me that you need people on your side. You need to build a team together,” Fransted said. “I think the reason I'm good at talking to clients and connecting with them is partly because I've come to realize how important the people side of what I do is. It's not about just having the best answer. It's about building relationships and respecting other people's opinions, even if you disagree with them."

Everything I learned at Texas A&M about the fundamentals of engineering and understanding how to grind are hugely valuable. But understanding the relationship-building side of things has enhanced every other skill I have.

Matt Fransted '10

Making an impact

After his time in the Navy, he founded a tutoring service for high school students in physics and math, became an officer for the National Capital Texas A&M Club and landed a job at MPR Associates. All his achievements earned him the title of The Association of Former Students’ 12 Under 12 Young Alumni Spotlight, a recognition that honors the accomplishments and success of Aggies that have graduated in the last 12 years.

Fransted’s initiative and ambition will continue to grow as he is set to graduate with a Master of Business Administration degree this May from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. With his degree and background in nuclear engineering, he hopes to make a difference in climate change.

“My big belief is that climate change is the No. 1 threat to humanity and that people who have a role in solving that are the people in positions of power, making decisions on how capital is being spent,” Fransted said. “If you are in a position where you get to decide whether to build a coal or nuclear plant, you're impacting climate change. My goal is to be one of those decision-makers, and I knew if I wanted to be one, I had to round out my business skills.”

With four kids under the age of seven, a career to expand and graduate school to complete, Fransted attributes his aptitude for hard work to his time at Texas A&M.

“A lot of people ask, ‘How do you do it all?’ and I think you just have to make the decision that you’re going to get it done,” Fransted said. “When I look back, it started when I failed a couple of classes freshman year. I had to figure out that failure is not an option. You have to figure out a way to get it done.”