Lourdes alumni Coleena Ali (’06, BA, Business) and Brandon Tucker (’09, MOL, Organizational Leadership) are putting their degrees to good use. Both have led projects that directly invest in the economic success of the Toledo area. Coleena managed the $800 million Toledo Public School System’s (TPS) “Building for Success” project and Brandon oversaw Workforce Development at the Greater Toledo Urban League.
If anyone knows how to make an impact on the local economy, it’s Ali. Since earning her degree, she has been part of the largest single building project in the history of Toledo.
As Bid/Contract Manager for the LGB (Lathrop/Gant/Barton Malow), a joint venture managing the TPS project, she has been one of the first and last individuals involved in the building process. “Seeing all of the hard work come to an end has been bittersweet – I’ll miss working on the project, but it’s terrific to see students reaping the benefits of having a new place to learn,” shares Coleena.
“The elementary and junior high schools I attended were part of the rebuilding process. It’s exciting to see these schools – schools that I went to, that my friends and family attended – being transformed. I see the positive changes and know firsthand how big an impact it will have on our community.” In all, the project included more than 40 new schools, effecting thousands of students.
As the Building for Success project winds down, Coleena is transitioning to the role of Business Development for R. Gant LLC and R. Gant Properties. “We’re working on some innovative projects that will have both a direct economic and community development impact on Toledo,” says Coleena.
Coleena additionally serves as a marketing instructor at Lourdes University and as Managing Director of The InnoTrans Group, specializing in the profitability of micro and medium sized businesses. “When you help a small business, you help the community as well,” she adds.
Like Coleena, Brandon Tucker also has a history of giving back to the Toledo-area. Most recently, Brandon served as the Director of Workforce Development for the Greater Toledo Urban League (GTUL), where his staff provided job readiness training, development, and financial literacy to the community.
“GTUL has provided ground-level assistance to those who need it most for over a decade. Recently, we operated Project Reconnect, in which over 110 youth were given job readiness training and over 60 were placed in career-level jobs. This project directly benefitted the Toledo community as the participants not only pay local taxes but are now part of the market of consumers who spend locally in turn contributing to the development of our region.”
Born and raised in Toledo, Brandon has been involved in the community since high school. “At Central Catholic, I was required to do service hours. That requirement changed my perspective on how to give back. After volunteering in the Pastoral Care department at St. Vincent Hospital, what was once a ‘requirement’ became a passion – I took that passion onward by enlisting in the Ohio Air Force National Guard (ANG).”
This fall, Brandon is running for Toledo City Council. “My work experience has given me the leadership qualities needed to improve how the City operates and serves its citizens. I want to ensure that our community is efficiently served by the local government in a cost-effective manner that benefits all who live and work here.”
Brandon and Coleena are just two of many Lourdes alumni impacting the local economy. Whether it’s caring for patients in hospitals, running businesses or teaching students – with 73% of its graduates choosing to remain in Northwest Ohio – Toledo residents are bound to cross paths with Lourdes alumni supporting the community.