Fortune 150 Executive and Copper Country Native Scott Usitalo to Speak at Midyear Commencement

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Scott Usitalo, president of Kimberly-Clark’s Family Care division, will be the featured speaker at Michigan Technological University’s Midyear Commencement, on Saturday, Dec. 14.

At commencement, the University will honor the achievements of more than 400 graduates, including 296 students receiving bachelor’s degrees, 109 master’s degree recipients and 23 PhD graduates.

Usitalo will receive an honorary doctorate during the commencement ceremonies. In his current position, he oversees some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Scott, Viva, and Kleenex. Since joining Kimberly-Clark in 2008, he has led the global resurgence of several of the Fortune 150 company’s paper products, in part through a deep commitment to the world’s consumers.

It’s an approach he learned at a young age. When he was about 12 years old, Usitalo began working at the family gas station in South Range, where service was paramount. The money he made fixing cars as a teenager enabled him to fulfill his dream of attending Michigan Tech. There, Usitalo earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering. After graduating in 1981, Usitalo joined Procter & Gamble, and within 10 years, he was assuming responsibilities in marketing as well as production. By 2004, he had spearheaded a successful global drive to improve Procter & Gamble’s worldwide marketing efforts.

Usitalo was then recruited to help transform the greater Cincinnati area into a center for tourism, and in 2005 he became the founding president of the CincinnatiUSA Regional Tourism Network.  He implemented a strategy that resulted in healthy growth for the region’s hospitality industry.

Usitalo was introduced to Kimberly-Clark while working as a strategist with the global innovation firm Seed Strategy. Within a year, he became a permanent part of the Kimberly-Clark team.

Usitalo attributes his success in part to skills honed during his years at Michigan Tech. Underlying it all were the experiences of his youth, when he learned to treat everyone who walked through the door of the gas station with respect. “My approaches to business and people were clearly born there,” he said.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.