ACE Leaders Interview, Upcoming Events, and Making a Difference

ACE Insider - ACE Mentor Program

April 2015 | Issue 1


Welcome to the first issue of ACE Insider!

This e-newsletter will update the ACE community (affiliate and national leaders, mentors, sponsors, and alumni) on news, updates and ACE-affiliate best practices.

We will send you the ACE Insider monthly. Between issues you can check out our posts on ACE's Facebook page, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Please send ACE Regional Directors or Insider editor Ed Worthy newsworthy items for Insider – ACE affiliate highlights, accomplishments of mentors and affiliate leaders, student achievements, fundraising successes, press coverage, stories about alumni, and more.

And, of course, photos (with captions) are always welcome.

ACE Insider

Joint Interview with ACE Leaders

Tom Gilbane, chairman and CEO of Gilbane Building Company, serves as the Co-Chair of ACE Mentor and for ten years has served on the ACE Board of Directors.

In February Jack Kalavritinos took up the reigns of ACE as President and CEO. His background includes service as a senior executive in both the public and private sectors.

Tom Gilbane Jack  

Tom Gilbane

Jack Kalavritinos


For its inaugural issue, ACE Insider asked these two leaders for their thoughts about ACE's future as well as its past.

Jack, what drew you to the position of ACE CEO?

JK:   ACE Mentor is an extraordinary organization that proves the private sector can help solve public needs when committed people join together to devote time and resources to a great cause. There is a great story to tell, and I look forward to telling it to new audiences and to growing the organization. The program in New York that Charlie Thornton started 21 years ago is stronger than ever, and its future is bright.

Tom, what persuaded the ACE Executive Committee that Jack is the right person to lead ACE forward?

TG:   Jack’s depth and breadth of experience will enable ACE to strengthen internal operations and build bridges to new organizations and companies. His network in the corporate world and public arena is extensive. He brings a fresh perspective that has already begun to sharpen our vision for the future.

Jack, after barely two months on the job, have you had any surprises?

JK:   Several leaders had mentioned the passion and commitment of the volunteer leaders, but I had to see this to truly believe it. Also – even though the name ACE Mentor focuses on the act of “mentoring” – I am learning that ACE is so much broader than this. ACE Mentor provides scholarships, internships, summer camps, and exposure to related fields and their professionals – from construction lawyers to members of the skilled crafts and trades.

How do the strengths of ACE’s first two decades of operation contribute to its future growth?

TG:   ACE embodies Charlie Thornton's energy and vision. These qualities have sparked us in the past and will guide us going forward. Our future also rests on the effectiveness of our affiliates and the dedication of so many outstanding mentors.

JK:   ACE has evolved into a significant national organization that is decentralized with a lean national office facilitating and supporting the great work of the 65 ACE affiliates around the country. We are fortunate to have strong, long-standing affiliates like New York City, Chicago and LA as well as more recent affiliates that are just getting off the ground such as Utah and others that are in the conceptual stage.

What are your priorities for 2015?

TG:   Now that ACE is on sound financial footing, the Board intends to involve new sponsors in our mission. From a risk management standpoint, we also want to insure that all affiliates comply with ACE policies. Finally, we want Regional Directors to bolster the efforts of some of the younger or smaller affiliates, while at the same time carefully expand ACE's reach.

JK:   Tom Gilbane and the rest of the Executive Committee have encouraged and empowered me to: 1) find new ways to enhance ACE's value to new and existing sponsors; 2) provide greater assistance to affiliates; 3) strengthen communications within the ACE family and get ACE’s message out to a wider audience; and 4) begin to position ACE more clearly in the STEM arena.

Jack, how do plan to get to know ACE better?

JK:   Reading and hearing about ACE’s impact is one thing, but actually seeing ACE in action will be the most informative, not to mention inspiring, thing I can do. So in the coming few months, I will visit different affiliates around the country, observe mentor/student teams, and listen to affiliate leaders.

I look forward to seeing the final team presentations of the CIRT-ACE National Design Competition and I will be excited to meet the winners of the 2015 ACE Outstanding Mentor competition.

Also, I have started meeting many of ACE’s loyal sponsors. I want to learn more about why they support ACE and how we can better serve their needs.

Readers should feel free to contact me directly at and follow me on Twitter @JackK_ACEMentor. In addition, please feel free to contact any of our ACE Mentor Regional Directors and follow us on one or more of our social media platforms.

"Mentor" is part of ACE's formal name. Why is mentoring important?

TG:   From the perspective of my own company, Gilbane’s cadre of ACE mentors gain professionally and personally as much as they give to students and their communities. Mentoring allows our employees to sharpen some of their skills such as communicating complicated ideas in a clear way and working as part of an interdisciplinary team. I believe mentoring is so important that Gilbane created a national award recognizing its own ACE Mentor of the Year.

JK:   I have already visited mentors in a few locations, and I've been very impressed by their commitment to the well-being of their students. This was clear to me in Chicago as well as during my recent trip to one of our newer affiliates – ACE Mentor of Puerto Rico.

ACE Insider

Heads Up

Heads Up

April 27

Meeting of National ACE Board, Washington, DC

Finals of CIRT-ACE National Design Competition

Presentation of 2015 Outstanding Mentor awards

October 29

Fall Board Meeting, Washington DC

ACE Makes a Difference

43% of the high school seniors who completed ACE in 2014 (1,655) entered college planning to major in civil, mechanical, electrical, structural or architectural engineering.

"I loved the ACE program because it has taught me more about not only the many disciplines of engineering, but about the importance of civil engineering and the role of a civil engineer. I also found it really fun to work with real professionals on a project, and I feel they have well prepared me for what I might learn in college."

— 2014 alumnus, Greater New York City Affiliate, now enrolled in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

ACE Insider

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