From his initial days at Kankakee Community College (KCC) in the 1990s to his current influential role, Eric Beach’s story is a testament to the transformative power of higher education.
As the global operational procurement manager at Curia Global in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Eric plays a pivotal role in advancing health initiatives and ensuring the timely and efficient production of life-saving medicines and vaccines. He manages a diverse team; handles substantial budgets; and collaborates with pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer on significant projects, such as the development and distribution of the COVID vaccine.
After taking a hiatus from school, Eric restarted his academic journey at age 38. He enrolled in a “dual-degree program” and attended Governors State University and KCC while working. Eric earned an Associate in General Studies degree from KCC in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from GSU in 2013. These milestones paved the way for a Master of Business Administration in 2018 and a Master of Science in Leadership in 2020 from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
Faculty and staff at KCC weren’t just teachers, Eric said. They served as pillars of support, helping him navigate challenges and laying the groundwork for academic success. When he had difficulty in science classes, Eric sought help from professors, tutoring sessions, and the Student Resource Center.
“Faculty and staff were very supportive,” Eric said. “Not just with assignments, but emotionally. They were always building you up. They understood I was working and going to two different schools. They gave me the encouragement and support a person in my situation needed.”
Eric’s leadership style reflects his experiences at KCC. He emphasizes mentorship and transformative leadership while leading a team of nearly 40 people. Eric recalls advice from his Earth Sciences teacher, Ms. Webb, “She told me, ‘Look Eric, you’re going to have struggles. And at the end of the day, this is all temporary. You must go through the hard to get to the good.’ This is as true today as it was in 2011.”
KCC also offered Eric joy, camaraderie, and the opportunity for Halloween fun. “I dressed up as the Blues Brothers with my friend,” Eric remembers. “KCC wasn’t just about academic rigor; it was about fostering a vibrant and supportive community.”
Eric said he urges students to embrace the discipline and rigor of academia, to make friends, network, and trust the professors and counselors.
“You have to be a good servant to be a good leader,” Eric advised. “When you are serving your classmates at KCC, it will help you start the transformation into becoming a good leader.”
For Eric, KCC was not just an educational institution; it was a launchpad for personal and professional transformation— where discipline, resilience, and a supportive community forged a leader ready to make a global impact.