The road to success has been littered with challenges and personal loss for Jesus Gutierrez. But today the Cristo Rey St. Martin Class of 2011 graduate has launched his career in mechanical engineering and is championing his two brothers, who are following in his footsteps at Marquette University, and his younger sister, a freshman at CRSM.
Having a choice in education is the rally call his parents – Maria and Jesus – chose for their firstborn son and his siblings. The first in the family to attend high school and complete college, Jesus serves as a role model for his siblings. It is through his parent’s support and the support of the CRSM community that gave Jesus the lift he needed to dream big for his future.
“If it had not been for the support of my mom and dad I probably would not have made it through college,” said Gutierrez, who is a project engineer at HN Precision, a machining manufacturer headquartered in Lake Bluff. “Late night phone calls with my mom were crucial in helping me through school, just her encouraging me every step of the way helped a lot.” Prior to his most recent position at HN Precision, he was a process engineer at Tekra in New Berlin, WI.
Sadly, his mother started getting ill right before his Marquette graduation in May of 2015 and was prevented from attending because she was hospitalized. She passed away in January of 2016 after being in and out of the hospital during all that time.
Today, Gutierrez likes to think he is continuing her mission by helping cheer on his siblings, Manny, Javier and Kaylin, a freshman at CRSM, all living together in Waukegan.
Like many CRSM grads, he says it is the spirit and support of community he experienced and learned at CRSM that is an essential part of the toolkit he has taken with him to college and now on the job.
He says the lesson he learned at CRSM about seeking out and belonging to a community has made all the difference in his success through college.
“No one else in my family has ever gone to college, so I had no idea at all what to expect and was honestly really afraid,” he says. “In high school, I learned that it is okay to ask for help and that our teachers were really interested in our lives and there to help. When I got to Marquette, I looked to find that sense of community and I did find a community of friends and professors who are open to me walking in and talking to them. I made sure to join a learning community and to seek out friends and teachers to make sure I wasn’t alone.”
He says CRSM has been the right fit for his entire family. He took classes that catered to his needs and served others in the community through the CRSM campus ministry program. He says his math classes and his teacher, Mr. Horcher, played a major role in sparking his passion for engineering.
“I just remember how much he loved math and his determination to make sure we all understood the problems. His passion for math rubbed off on me. It made me want to pursue a career in engineering, I really left CRSM loving math too,” says Gutierrez.
Five to 10 years from now he sees himself steering his present course to new heights.
“I want to continue to grow my career at a reasonable pace and eventually, in five to 10 years from now, get to a managerial position,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to be behind a consumer product that reaches the hands of everyday people. A product that can someday make it to an aisle at Wal-Mart or Target, something that I can I point to and say ‘Hey I was part of the design team that brought this product to market!’”
He reflects about what his life would be if he had not attended CRSM.
“If I had not gone to CRSM, life would absolutely be tougher,” he says. “I do not know how well my chances of going to college would have been, but I would not have been as motivated to go if it had not been for CRSM. Being the first in my family to graduate high school and go on to college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I cannot put into words the opportunities and doors that CRSM opened for me. “
When he is not at work, Gutierrez is exploring photography and loves to cycle “when the weather lets me.”