Andrew Zihmer ’08
Elementary / Special / Early Childhood Education
Voracious is an apt word to describe 2008 Gannon alumnus Andrew Zihmer. Equipped with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering, Andrew moved on to exciting positions involving air, sea and nuclear power. He first relocated to Baltimore as an engineer with Northrup Grumman working on space based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. He then accepted an engineering position with Rolls-Royce and later became a supervising manager of obsolescence programs for commercial nuclear power plants. Andrew’s current job is with Bettis Laboratory near Pittsburgh at their Naval Nuclear Laboratory. As an advanced engineer, Andrew designs, installs and provides lifecycle support for simulators for the US Navy’s nuclear ships.
Andrew’s professional career doesn’t end with his work day. He is also the Director of Operations at Zihmer Law Firm (his wife Tracy’s firm) where he manages all day to day business and operating functions. And, he opened his own consulting firm in 2017. Through Voraus Consulting (voraus is German for “ahead, forward, advance”) Andrew works with entrepreneurs to help them start and then grow their businesses.
Somehow Andrew manages to enjoy some free time as well. He enjoys skiing (thanks to his time at Gannon and the opportunity to visit Peek ‘n Peak), camping and competing in the dog sport of Schutzhund with his German Shepherd, Maverick. Andrew and Tracy have one daughter, Madelyn, and another dog, a rescue named Charlie.
Being a voracious individual is also evidenced by Andrew’s many activities as a student. He was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, Men’s Club Volleyball, Eta Kappa Nu Honors Society, IEEE Gannon Chapter and GIVE Day Volunteer. His favorite activity at Gannon was Homecoming, adding that being a part of Greek Life made it even more exciting.
When asked to share his favorite Gannon memory, Andrew offered the following, “Every Thanksgiving, the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity hosted a Thanksgiving lunch with the Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority. My senior year, we decided to offer food to all of the GU Police Officers. One by one, throughout the day, they all stopped over for turkey and stuffing! Additionally we had invited (then) President Garibaldi to join us. Well, he was out of town, but his flight landed in Erie that day and he came straight from the airport to the Pike house! Perhaps a few minutes late, but the fact that the university president came over and spent his personal time with us really showcased the Gannon Family.”
Andrew feels very strongly that Gannon has helped him to become successful, not just professionally but also personally. He added, “I cannot explain how much I grew up and learned about myself in those four years. From the amazing electrical engineering department and their efforts to prepare us for the work place, to the liberal arts core classes that allowed me to simply enjoy learning, to GIVE Day, food drives, Dorm Storm and other community service events where I learned the joy of giving back, Gannon is a HUGE reason why I am the person I am today. I am incredibly grateful and blessed that I was a part of Gannon.”
As advice to current Gannon students, Andrew encourages them to embrace being a part of the Gannon Family, adding, “take the extra class just because it interests you, stop by to discuss a new topic with your professor, and chat with the staff that you see every day. Gannon is truly a remarkable place.”
Regarding his future, Andrew hopes to start additional businesses, continue working with others, and to keep giving back to his community. He is also looking forward to witnessing continued growth at Gannon and ended by saying, “I am excited to see what the future holds for all of us.”
((published February 2018))