Adventurer

Attended KCSS • 1976–1981

Inducted October 2007

Ulrike

Zugelder

See Induction Video

A woman who lives by her passions

I struggled to choose one word to encapsulate my life since leaving KCSS and finally chose “adventuring”, not only because it has been the thread that has woven together my life experiences, be they academic, professional or personal, but also if I can impart any words of wisdom to those who come after me, it is to live every day to the fullest; make each experience count; strive to be better, smarter, faster, kinder than the day before. Live the adventure we call life.

Academically, after graduating from KCSS, I went to Waterloo, graduating in 1986 with a Bachelors and the following year with a Masters. Several years later, I earned an MBA from Stanford. Since then, probably not a year has gone by when I haven’t taken some class, be it drawing, avionics, real estate, architecture, structural engineering, building construction, sculpture, etc. “A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep as shallow draughts intoxicate the brain” [Alexander Pope].

After graduating (the 1st time), I moved to California to join a firm called Magnetic Transit of America as Propulsion Design Engineer. We were building the first magnetically levitated train in North America. After 3 years, I had an epiphany that although technology facilitates the betterment of lives, one’s ability to affect one's own destiny is a challenge as an engineer. The success of massive projects hinges more on economics and politics than on technical merit. I went back to school.

After graduating (the 2nd time), I joined ITT, a Fortune 100 diversified manufacturing company and had myriad responsibilities, including Program Manager, Marketing Director, National Sales Manager and Vice President Strategic Planning. I travelled the world, accumulating millions of frequent flyer miles, looking for complimentary technologies. I spent an incredibly enjoyable two years living in Paris, France. The beauty of a large company is the diversity of experiences to be had. The challenge, once again, was how to affect one’s own destiny. I retired to start my own company.

I got my contractor’s and broker’s licenses, took a handful of design classes and founded Libertatis, a design and build firm. My current project is to build a client’s 7000 sq. ft dream home, in Laguna Beach, CA, overlooking the Pacific with a sweeping 180 degree view. My next project … is evolving. “Life is like a bicycle; to keep your balance, you must keep moving” – Albert Einstein.

Beyond my professional life, I have led an adventure-filled, exploration-rich life. I’ve climbed Mount Blanc, Kilimanjaro and Mount Fuji. I’ve trekked to Everest Base Camp and cross-country skied to the North Pole. I’ve completed an Iron-man and learned to fly in the clouds.

A current passion is how to “give back”. I serve on the board of a non-profit organization dedicated to providing comfort and support to HIV/Aids victims. I volunteer in Special Olympics and introduce young boy scouts to the wonder of flight.

I am forever curious, forever striving, forever dreaming, forever growing. “Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt; sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth” – Mark Twain.

Written October 2007

 

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A woman who lives by her passions

I struggled to choose one word to encapsulate my life since leaving KCSS and finally chose “adventuring”, not only because it has been the thread that has woven together my life experiences, be they academic, professional or personal, but also if I can impart any words of wisdom to those who come after me, it is to live every day to the fullest; make each experience count; strive to be better, smarter, faster, kinder than the day before. Live the adventure we call life.

Academically, after graduating from KCSS, I went to Waterloo, graduating in 1986 with a Bachelors and the following year with a Masters. Several years later, I earned an MBA from Stanford. Since then, probably not a year has gone by when I haven’t taken some class, be it drawing, avionics, real estate, architecture, structural engineering, building construction, sculpture, etc. “A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep as shallow draughts intoxicate the brain” [Alexander Pope].

After graduating (the 1st time), I moved to California to join a firm called Magnetic Transit of America as Propulsion Design Engineer. We were building the first magnetically levitated train in North America. After 3 years, I had an epiphany that although technology facilitates the betterment of lives, one’s ability to affect one's own destiny is a challenge as an engineer. The success of massive projects hinges more on economics and politics than on technical merit. I went back to school.

After graduating (the 2nd time), I joined ITT, a Fortune 100 diversified manufacturing company and had myriad responsibilities, including Program Manager, Marketing Director, National Sales Manager and Vice President Strategic Planning. I travelled the world, accumulating millions of frequent flyer miles, looking for complimentary technologies. I spent an incredibly enjoyable two years living in Paris, France. The beauty of a large company is the diversity of experiences to be had. The challenge, once again, was how to affect one’s own destiny. I retired to start my own company.

I got my contractor’s and broker’s licenses, took a handful of design classes and founded Libertatis, a design and build firm. My current project is to build a client’s 7000 sq. ft dream home, in Laguna Beach, CA, overlooking the Pacific with a sweeping 180 degree view. My next project … is evolving. “Life is like a bicycle; to keep your balance, you must keep moving” – Albert Einstein.

Beyond my professional life, I have led an adventure-filled, exploration-rich life. I’ve climbed Mount Blanc, Kilimanjaro and Mount Fuji. I’ve trekked to Everest Base Camp and cross-country skied to the North Pole. I’ve completed an Iron-man and learned to fly in the clouds.

A current passion is how to “give back”. I serve on the board of a non-profit organization dedicated to providing comfort and support to HIV/Aids victims. I volunteer in Special Olympics and introduce young boy scouts to the wonder of flight.

I am forever curious, forever striving, forever dreaming, forever growing. “Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt; sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth” – Mark Twain.

Written October 2007

 

Back to Inductee List

 

Recognizing outstanding KCSS alumni

The Voice of the King City Secondary School Alumni Association

The Voice of the King City Secondary School Alumni Association