Having recently retired from BMW of North America, a graduate of a former area college returned to Williamsport to share his experiences and tips for those entering the workforce.
Thomas C. Baloga, a 1974 graduate of Williamsport Area Community College, the predecessor to Pennsylvania College of Technology, offered his “10 Tips for Career Success” Tuesday.
“This is the gift I would relish most in my retirement, to present some tips to you,” Baloga told students when discussing his career.
Baloga received an associate degree in automotive technology from WACC before furthering his education at Penn State. He has worked for Mercedes-Benz USA, Britax Child Safety, along with BMW.
His most recent posts with BMW were vice president of engineering, United States; president of BMW Technology Corp.; and vice president of engineering quality and safety.
And along his way he said he learned and observed many qualities that helped individuals succeed and ones that hindered it.
Baloga spoke about the importance of distinguishing confidence and arrogance. Imagining success and going after it is the goal, he said.
The importance of giving “110 percent” also was highlighted. Although employees should “give more” he told students to not damage their health or family lives in pursuit of success.
“When 110 percent is too much, maybe you need to move on,” he said. “But go into it with 110 percent.”
Through his years, Baloga has seen “office politics,” and other misinterpretations, derail new employees early in their stay in a position; that’s why he advised students that “the first two weeks define your reputation.”
He said smiling, proper grooming and having a “yes attitude” will serve students heading into the workforce well.
“Whatever they ask you to do in your job – ‘Yes, I’ll do it,'” Baloga said.
And although people are hired and paid to solve problems, he said that if you don’t have the answer, find it.
When asked, Baloga told students that in his early jobs out of WACC, his education is what stood him apart from others.
“What the associate degree I got here allowed me to do is go to the next level,” he said.
When speaking on verifying facts, Baloga told the audience about an instance where he was given the task of finding why vehicles were not being built level. After look at every possibility on the vehicle, he soon found that the floor – which he had been told was level – was the problem.
Speaking after the presentation, Baloga said he hopes his advice will “make it easier for them” as they enter the workforce.
“I wanted the opportunity to pass these (tips) along to the students,” Baloga said.
Tuesday’s visit to Penn College was Baloga’s first visit back to the campus since he graduated.
He noted how the campus has grown and how improved the facilities are.
“It’s beautiful,” he said of the campus.