• Volume 18 Number 2
    Spring 2009


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Tom Kodiak, BS ’00
 Washington, D.C.  •  Profiled: Spring ’05

Workforce analyst

The only way Tom Kodiak could have seen more of the world since graduating is if he had become an astronaut.

“When I was Purdue student, traveling to Sweden to study abroad showed me how huge this world is,” says Kodiak, probably the only bonsai apprentice ever to graduate from Purdue Agriculture.

“Since then I’ve been to 35 countries, lived in Japan for four years, got my MBA from the College of William and Mary and my master’s of international management from Thunderbird.” (Thunderbird School of Global Management is the oldest and largest graduate management school in the U.S. focused solely on preparing international business leaders.)

In Japan, he taught English classes and apprenticed to a bonsai master, caring for 1,000 bonsai trees in the Shunkaien Bonsai Nursery and Museum east of Tokyo.

globeAfter a stint as director of the Illinois International Trade Center, Kodiak now is a workforce analyst for the Employment Training Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.

“I crunch numbers and produce various macroeconomic modeling programs analyzing the domestic workforce and forecast trends in unemployment in various areas of the country,” explains Kodiak. “I also analyze national emergency grants that will help dislocated workers retrain and find new jobs.”

Is this really the same Tom Kodiak who grew up wanting to manage the family’s 2,000-head cattle ranch in Colorado?

“Back then, I had absolutely no idea what I’d be doing now, but the cattle ranch is still an option, although it’s a long shot.”