UA Engineering Alum Establishes Scholarship in Father's Name
“Financial assistance is simply a vehicle to transport dreams to a place of fruition,” said Pete Hushek, president of Phoenix Heat Treating.
Hushek recently established the Charles J. Hushek Scholarship in memory of his father, Charles “Chuck” Hushek, who founded Phoenix Heat Treating in 1963. The younger Hushek’s major -- metallurgical engineering -- no longer exists at UA, and the endowed scholarship will support undergraduate students in the UA College of Engineering’s materials science and engineering department.
Longtime Phoenix resident Pete Hushek was born in Phoenix less than a year after his parents moved from Milwaukee, Wis., and comes from a family that has been in the metals business for almost a century. His own involvement in the industry goes back nearly 40 years to long before his graduation from the University of Arizona.
“My UA education has benefited me greatly,” Hushek said. “On any given day I use the breadth of experience that my education in the classroom established, and which my practical plant floor expanded upon, to help me solve processing problems for a wide range of industrial markets.” These two streams of knowledge -- theoretical and practical -- work hand in hand, Hushek said, to help him make prudent decisions.
During a two-year hiatus between his sophomore and junior years at UA, Hushek worked on the shop floor at his father’s company, where he saw first-hand the need for theoretical knowledge to supplement his practical experience. “Working the floor at PHT enriched my vision of how, where, when and why my studies would be of benefit,” he said. “I am not sure if it would have worked as well any other way.”
Hushek said he established the scholarship because his experiences following graduation made him realize that engineering was crucial to society, and that it should have a more prominent position in the economy. “We can’t have full employment in financial services alone,” he noted.
“The economy needs manufacturing,” Hushek said. “If students have a desire to understand at a core level more about how things work, they should be able to pursue an education without accumulating debt.”
Echoing his own time on the shop floor as a student, Hushek also provides engineering undergraduates with practical experience through an intern program at Phoenix Heat Treating. “They do fantastic work, and I am very lucky to work with them,” he said. “These students get to see the wonderful world of manufacturing, where their basic learning can provide them a path to a satisfying career limited only by their dreams and desires.”
Hushek described his father as “a third-generation heat-treater and promoter of all things possible in people.” Chuck Hushek used to say that as an employer all he could do was provide employees with a piece of rope each day. The rope was his metaphor for an opportunity to do something good or to simply waste it through inaction.
“I am glad that I have been able to fashion my scraps of rope into a bridge to a better place for our employees and my family,” he said, adding that it is now time for him to extend the piece of rope outside the confines of his business in Phoenix. “I am hopeful that the scholarship committee will find worthy candidates who will use this financial rope to haul in a great UA Engineering education. This scholarship will provide someone assistance, as my parents did for me many years ago.”
Pete Hushek will supplement his generous initial gift of $40,000 with $5,000 annually during the first two years while the endowment grows. Hushek was recently re-elected to the board of trustees of the Metal Treating Institute, a business trade association dedicated to promoting the metals processing industry in the arenas of education, business enhancement, government regulation, plant and environmental safety.
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