Jim Nixon

Nixon credits AU MBA program for his ascent up corporate ladder

Published on Jan. 26, 2023
College of Business and Economics

Without the training provided through Ashland University’s MBA program, Jim Nixon said he doesn’t think he would have had the skill set to accelerate his career path as quickly as he has.

Nixon was recently named Quanex’s first vice president of innovation and new markets, following 21 years as the general manager of LMI Custom Mixing, a leader in custom polymer compounding based in Cambridge, Ohio, that Quanex Building Products acquired in November 2022.

That significant promotion followed the MBA degree Nixon earned from AU.

“I am grateful for the experience and skills acquired through (AU’s MBA) program,” Nixon said. “The professors were consistently top notch, the program was very flexible and, in my case, the site location was incredibly convenient.”

Ashland had a satellite location at Lauren Manufacturing in New Philadelphia where Nixon was working when he started pursuing his MBA, which took him about three years to complete.

In exchange for Lauren allowing Ashland to use its site, the university provided several scholarships to the company for qualified candidates who wanted to pursue an MBA. “I applied for one of the scholarships not long after I was hired and was lucky enough to be selected,” said Nixon, who worked at Lauren from 1999 to 2001 before being transitioned to LMI and finished his MBA in 2003. “An MBA was always something I wanted to pursue after receiving my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, and it was going to be good training for the career path I was pursuing.”

After receiving his undergraduate degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1998, Nixon worked for one year as a technology engineer for Energizer in Westlake, doing research and development work on the anode design for the 9V, C and D alkaline batteries.

Accounting, finance, business statistics and business ethics were a few of the AU classes that Nixon said helped him along his career path.

“Today, Ashland offers a comprehensive MBA program with many of the same positive features I experienced when I went through the program, but with even more flexibility today,” said Nixon, who is sharing his time between Quanex locations in Cambridge and Akron in his new position.

Quanex is a global, publicly traded manufacturing company primarily serving original equipment manufacturers in the fenestration, cabinetry, solar, refrigeration and outdoor products markets.

“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Jim to this senior leadership role as we continue exploring new ways to drive value for our customers and shareholders,” said George Wilson, president and CEO of Quanex, in a news release. “Jim will be instrumental in our efforts to develop innovative new polymer solutions, expand our capabilities and diversify into new markets.”

Through his leadership, Nixon hopes to help Quanex grow. “My personal leadership style has evolved over time and was influenced by many experiences, including my experience at AU,” he said.