Alumni Relations

Eric Harris

Photo of Eric Harris

Eric Harris

General Manager/ Co-Owner/ Winemaker of Two-EE's Winery
Think. Buy. Alumni

Q: How has your degree been beneficial to your career?
A: I've had an interesting college career with twists and turns that have lead to this decision. I started off at Ball State University with an interest in Biology and Chemistry. I spent a lot of time in upper level courses and also studied abroad in Australia. I had an opportunity to come home to Fort Wayne and take over an existing business with a friend from high school and decided to move forward with that and finish my degree at IPFW. With the exposure of operating a small business I felt like I could use the help of business courses to give some foundation to real world application. I quickly learned that business was something I took more interest in than science and changed my degree pursuits. Although it was a little late for me to pursue a business degree, I decided its not what my degree says but rather what I've learned and what I'll be able to apply to real world application that carries the most weight and finished with a general studies degree. It is accurate to say the studies were general but it gave me the flexibility to learn what I felt was important to me rather than a standardized curriculum. This long strange trip has given me a solid foundation to build on with real world experience in organizing and developing a new business.

Q: How did you become interested in your field?
A: When I was 12 years old we had a gallon of apple cider that fermented in the refrigerator and I wanted to taste it but my Mom wouldn't let me and dumped it down the drain. There has always been a lingering curiosity there, I wish I had the chance to taste it, even if it was nasty. At BSU in Microbiology we made root beer with an inoculated fermentation to carbonate the soda. It was fun to spend the week on fermentation kinetics. The most influential piece of the puzzle was my future father in law's basement winery that he and I built from a couple small batches of wine a year to several barrels with several different varieties.

Q: What is the best career advice you were given?
A: Networking is paramount, and brevity is the soul of wit.

Q: Was there anyone during your time at IPFW who acted as a mentor to you?
A: Bob Abel was one of the most difficult instructors I had the pleasure of
studying under. His style is unorthodox yet effective, he clearly wanted his
students to not only learn, but think. Lectures with Bob are thought provoking
and casual, the work is difficult, and the lessons learned stick with you. In HR
Issues, I was involved in a group project in developing a winery business plan, it was picked apart without reservation and has helped shape what this business has grown into.

Q: What advice would you give to current IPFW students?
A: Visit the counselors, they will help you choose the right classes and instructors to help you graduate on time or sooner. Ultra important. Also, you get what you put into it.

Q: Where do you hope to be in ten years?
A:The only thing I hope for my future is health and happiness. Professional well being is secondary. I never would have guessed 10 years ago where I'd be today, It would be foolish to have any expectations for the next 10 years.

Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: I hope people remember me as kind and genuine.

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