Leading Across Roles
By Liz Warren-Pederson
Blake Hlavaty is a Full-Time Eller MBA student, but he’s also a husband, Naval officer, and instructor.
Hlavaty completed his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at Texas Tech University and continued on to officer candidate school in Pensacola, Florida. After a year and half of learning military structure and completing boot camp and training, Hlavaty became a submarine officer and joined the crew of the USS Bremerton, a fast-attack submarine stationed in Hawaii. Hlavaty married his college sweetheart Ashley, who joined him in Hawaii in 2007. During the early years of their marriage, Hlavaty was deployed, living and working on theBremerton.
After returning from his deployment, Hlavaty and his wife decided it was time to take on a less active role in the Navy. Hlavaty began researching graduate schools that would bring him closer to his hometown of Lubbock, Texas.
“As I started to research MBA programs, I found that the Eller MBA was an excellent option,” he said. “I was very impressed with the personal service that I received through the application process. Now as a member of the cohort, I really feel like I am a part of family here at Eller, and I know that I will have many friends for years to come.”
Hlavaty is also completing the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, in which he and his venture team are developing a nanotechnology drug delivery system. His team recently won second place during the Homecoming venture pitch competition.
If Hlavaty and his team choose not to pursue their venture in a real-world setting, Hlavaty plans to get involved with a technology or engineering company that will allow him to pursue a general management role. He is hoping to join a start-up or fast-growing company.
In addition to completing the Full-Time MBA and the entrepreneurship program, Hlavaty is one of four active duty instructors with the University of Arizona Navy ROTC program. Each semester he mentors about 20 students of the 130 enrolled Navy ROTC participants and teaches a Naval Engineering (NS 102) course.
“During my time in the Navy, I really loved being in a leadership role,” he said. “I want to continue to be a leader in my next phase of life. Eller has given me basic business skills as well as high-level strategy and decision-making skills that will benefit me as I move onto the business scene.”