Posted on Monday, December 6, 2021
AJ Bove ’19, salesman/business development analyst for ITEN Industries and CEO for Odorex Athletix, talks about his time at Westminster and what he has been up to since graduating. Read the recent Q&A and recognize how his Westminster foundation helped lead him to where he is today, with balancing a 9-5 job along with a passion for starting something of his own.
Q: What are some of the things you’ve taken from Westminster that you now use all the time in your own life?
A: I think one of the biggest things I’ve taken from Westminster is how well I learned to communicate with people and, in general, people skills. During my time at school, I worked as a student assistant in the Business Office. Specifically, I worked with Professor Ligo by helping grade tests, quizzes and homework. I also helped students schedule their classes, which helped me learn about time management skills and working with people directly. This was also my first time working in an office environment which helped me be able to communicate with adults effectively.
Q: Since being back to campus, has anything changed?
A: I’ve definitely noticed a change with the athletic department with the additions of the new turf on the football field, UPMC soccer and lacrosse sports complex, as well as the new baseball and softball fields. It’s very cool to know that this was all possible by the generous donations of alumni and friends. I think it really shows how much we care about the students and the school.
Q: What have you been up to since graduation?
A: Right now, I am currently working full-time for a manufacturing company in Ashtabula, Ohio, called ITEN Industries. I mostly work as a salesman and a business development analyst primarily focusing on a new product called Ramp Armor, which is a skateboarding ramp surface material. I also spend my spare time and evenings on expanding Odorex Athletix, which is a sports solution product that was developed during my time at Westminster.
Q: What advice can you give students and alumni trying to build their network?
A: I would say one of the most important things you can do is just pick up the phone and call people. I feel like so much more is communicated through a phone call instead of emailing people for answers or with questions you have. I think people are hesitant to call sometimes. I know I am at times, but it’s a great way to stay connected to Westminster and Westminster alumni. You never know who will be able to help.
Q: What is some advice you would offer fellow alumni who are looking to start an idea like you had with Odorex?
A: My biggest advice would be to just go for it. I was a part of WEC (Westminster Entrepreneurial Center), and it really helped me stay connected with the people at Westminster. A lot of them helped me to get where I am now. So, my advice to alumni would be to get into contact with your peers and faculty from Westminster and just go for it.
Q: How might you encourage fellow alumni to balance their day job and a side passion they want to develop?
A: I think getting things to where you want them to be when you aren’t sure how it will end up can be challenging and intimidating, which could lead to a lack of motivation. Yet, what I try to do is to sit down and identify my ultimate goal—then it can be very easy and motivating to work on that after you are done with a full day in the office. Find your goal, be comfortable with that goal and work toward it daily.
~ Prepared and written by Office of Alumni Engagement Intern Tom Howell ’23