5 Questions with Jim Berge ('85)
Berge Robotics (Shreveport, Louisiana)
LeTourneau School of Engineering & Engineering Technology
What brought you to LETU?
I had an older cousin who had gone before, and an uncle who was a big fan of Mr. LeTourneau and the college. I did pretty well in high school and knew I should pursue some kind of engineering career because I was very much into science and discovery. LeTourneau became an obvious choice.
How would you describe your LETU Experience?
I had a lot of fun, I worked very hard, I grew up, I learned a little bit about the world around me. I was a big introvert in high school, but I have always loved adventure and change. I had traveled away from home very little during my first 18 years, so it was a big step for me to move more than 1200 miles from home (I was born and raised in northern Minnesota). But my classmates, my professors, and everyone else made the transition very easy and natural. The adventurous side of me never looked back and I really enjoyed college life, and it probably helped that LeTourneau is not a huge state school with tens of thousands of students. The size of the student body and the school overall was just right for developing relationships and feeling like I was not just one among tens of thousands.
Did any professors have a significant impact?
Of course Mr. Kielhorn was most memorable since I am a welding graduate. He truly cared about every one of his students and was a great example of godly servitude. But others that come to mind include Mr. Copenhaver, maybe because he and I were both on the worship team at the church I attended in Longview (I played bass). How many engineering schools have that kind of thing happening?
How has LETU prepared you for your career?
LeTourneau is very well known and respected in industry. For a graduate this is a great advantage. But the most important thing about LeTourneau is that it was founded on the idea that followers of Jesus ought to be active in industry and in other job segments that are not normally considered “Christian” jobs. Mr. LeTourneau’s vision of Christians in the marketplace is a powerful biblical concept, and I have tried to honor that throughout my career. Life without an active, functional relationship with Jesus is seriously lacking in meaning and direction, and this includes our jobs and vocations. LeTourneau taught me that not only is it possible to be a strong Christian in the marketplace, but also that there are a lot of others out there, even if they are not vocal about it.
What advice would you give to LETU students?
I don’t need to advise them to work hard. If they don’t, they just won’t make it. Outside of academics, my real advice is to use the time you have at LeTourneau to develop your faith in Christ as a functional part of your life. Apply it to every single decision you make. Seek His will for everything, even the little things in life. Develop friendships that you can call on for the rest of your life. I was not that good at maintaining friendships after graduating, and I now regret that. LeTourneau students are everywhere, and this network can be valuable in your career and also in just developing true friendships wherever you may settle. Enjoy yourself, but realize that this is a crucial part of your adult development and these few years are shaping you in significant ways that you may not even realize until decades have passed.
"Mr. LeTourneau's vision of Christians in the marketplace is a powerful Biblical concept, and I have tried to honor that throughout my career."