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Tippie MIS Alumnus Leads Pearson Division

Steve Kromer, who is the executive vice president and general manager of Pearson Educational Measurement (PEM) in Iowa City, has had a career path that has been slightly unconventional.

One early jobs was in Switzerland, where Mr. Kromer and his high school friend found work at a box factory in Zurich, stacking and folding cardboard boxes. They lived in tight quarters with other migrant workers, sharing cooking and bathroom facilities. Though unglamorous, this working arrangement allowed them to earn the living that would enable them to visit surrounding countries in Europe.

"It was a great experience that changed the way I view the world and interact with people," he said. "It gave me a greater appreciation for culture and diversity."

After 11 months in Europe the duo returned stateside and Mr. Kromer worked as a carpenter before eventually finding a job in insurance.

But Mr. Kromer wasn't satisfied.

"It got to a point where I had to do something different," said Mr. Kromer.

The Waverly native promptly enrolled at the University of Iowa, thinking he would get a business degree and return to work in insurance. But he opted for a degree in management information systems from the UI instead. After graduating he took a job as a programmer at National Computer Systems, the predecessor to PEM.

He has been with the company ever since, working his way up from programmer to his current position, in which he leads PEM's 1,550 employees in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Austin, Texas. He also oversees its organizational alignment and ensures the company meets its commitments to its clients.

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