Dr. Jeff Alves and C.J. Copley '98, MBA '00
While many close relationships between faculty and students begin in the classroom, some blossom via co-curricular activities. C.J. Copley ’98, MBA ’00 and Jeff Alves, professor of entrepreneurship and acting dean, Sidhu School of Business and Leadership, together launched the Wilkes chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). Copley was its ﬁrst president and Alves was advisor.
Today Copley is executive vice president for sales and marketing for Golden Technologies, Inc., a manufacturer of mobility products, such as lift chairs and scooters, based in Old Forge, Pa. The path to an executive position wasn’t always easy, Copley acknowledges. He credits Alves with inspiring him to persevere.
“Getting through my undergraduate years was a challenge. I wasn’t a straight-A student,” Copley says. “Dr. Alves inspired me. I remember our ﬁrst SIFE competition. I think it was in Parsippany, N.J. We had been up practicing for hours, doing dry runs of our presentation. We took a break and went to dinner. He started sharing his own experiences in school and told me he had challenges too, that it wasn’t always easy for him. He told me, ‘If I can do it, anybody can do it.’ His encouragement at that dinner is something I’ll never forget…. To hear that from someone like Dr. Alves meant a lot.”
Copley was a veteran entrepreneur before he graduated—he helped his family start a promotional products business while still at Wilkes—and Alves has tapped that real-world expertise by recruiting his former student to teach at Wilkes. “He’s taught the Integrated Management Experience (IME) course in which students start a business,” Alves says. “He’s taught (a course about) the selling process. He’s done it. He’s started a business.” Copley says he still consults with Alves when choosing textbooks for his classes.
Alves emphasizes that mentoring has a trickle-down effect: It passes from faculty member to student, and then, when the student becomes an alumnus, back to current students. Copley has mentored Wilkes interns who work with him at Golden Technologies.