Harold Poling

Alumni Accolades

Among the brothers of Sig Ep who have made their mark nationally, perhaps most recognizable by his storied history of success is Harold A. "Red" Poling, whom lead the Ford Motor Company as its President and Chief Financial Officer.

Poling was born in Troy, Mich., on Oct. 14, 1925., Harold A. Poling grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, one of four children of an auto mechanic and a nurse. No stranger to hard work, he had jobs at 12 cutting and laying sod, as well as helping his father at his job. At 17, two weeks after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Navy. He is a founding member of the chapter and received his bachelor of arts degree in 1949 from Monmouth College. He earned his master of business administration degree in 1951 from Indiana University.

Later, after finishing his MBA in accounting, he took a job with Ford as a cost analyst in the Steel Division Controller's Office, and held various staff and divisional finance positions before becoming Transmission and Chassis Division assistant controller in 1964. As head of Ford of Europe, he guided the subsidiary to record earnings. He moved to Ford's North American Operations prior to being named president and chief operating officer, then vice chairman and chief operating officer and then chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company, the world's second-largest auto maker.

Poling was elected chairman on March 1, 1990.  He has been a member of the Ford Board of Directors since May 10, 1979, and a member of the Office of the Chief Executive since November 1984.  On Feb. 1, 1985, Poling was named president and chief operating officer, and he became vice chairman and chief operating officer on Oct. 13, 1987. Prior to his election as president, Poling had been executive vice president - Ford North American Automotive Operations since March 13, 1980.  Poling was elected an executive vice president of the company in January 1979 and was appointed executive vice president - Corporate Staffs in April 1979. He was elected a company vice president and president of Ford of Europe Incorporated in October 1975.  He became chairman of the European subsidiary in July 1977.

He was appointed divisional controller in 1966 and the following year became controller of Engine and Foundry Division.  In 1968, he became controller of the Product Development Group, a position he held until being named vice president - Finance of Ford of Europe in November 1972.

Poling is a director of Shell Oil Company and is a member of the BHP International Advisory Council.  He is a director of the Monmouth (Ill.) College Senate and a member of the Dean's Advisory Council for the Indiana University School of Business. He was national chairman of Indiana University's Annual Fund campaigns from 1986-88.  Poling also is a member of the Board of Visitors of the School of Business Administration at Oakland University and the Board of Visitors of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.
He is a member of the boards of the Highway Users Federation and Detroit Renaissance Inc.  He is a trustee of New Detroit Inc. and Beaumont Hospital.  He also is a member of the National 4-H Council, The Business Council, The Business Roundtable, The Conference Board, the Brookings Council, the Business-Higher Education Forum and the U.S.-Korea Business Council.  He is Forum chairman-elect (chairman 1994-1996) of the Business-Higher Education Forum.  He is vice president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan.
Poling received the Automotive Hall of Fame's 1986 Distinguished Service Citation award presented to individuals who "have contributed significantly to the success of the automotive industry and to the communities in which they live."  In May 1987, he was presented with the Leadership Award from the Engineering Society of Detroit, and in February 1988 he was named "Man of the Year" for 1988 by Automotive Industries magazine.  In addition, he was chosen as the 1991 recipient of the prestigious Horatio Alger award and the 1992 recipient of the National Honoree Award presented by Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society for collegiate schools of business.  In 1993, Poling was presented the Albert Schweitzer Leadership award by the Hugh O'Brian Youth Foundation and honored with the Lone Sailor Award by the United States Navy Memorial Foundation.  He was also named 1993 Industry Leader by the Automotive Hall of Fame.

He received honorary degrees from Monmouth College in 1981, Hofstra University in 1986, Indiana University and the University of Detroit in 1990, and Michigan State University in 1992.  He also received Indiana University's Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1990.

Brother Red Poling's work associates and friends at Ford Motor Company recognize his service and what he provided to their experiences and lives:

Spring Arbor University Presents: Red Poling Episode 1

Spring Arbor University Presents: Red Poling Episode 2

Spring Arbor University Presents: Red Poling Episode 3

Read about Virgil S. Boucher '32 (1909 - 2007) and his story of establishing a scholarship for the Balanced Man Scholarship and his financial support which benefits this chapter.

Another notable alumnus is David Bowers '60, namedrecipient of Doctor of Humane Letters at the college's 2009 Commencement. Introduction by President Mauri Ditzler:

Lon Helton, '72 is mentioned in our alumni in the news section currently.

Robert Grimm, '92 is recognized as this years' Distinguished Young Alumnus.

We invite alumni to share their stories of their years at SigEp! Come back and share your story in person, the brothers welcome to know your experiences and fond memories with the chapter.