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Jamie Flinchbaugh has a passion for business--and learning

Jamie Flinchbaugh ’94 was a shining star as an undergraduate at Lehigh, and he’s kept on glowing as a young alumnus. Flinchbaugh won the Undergraduate Merit Award for his outstanding accomplishments and service to others in 1994 and then, 10 years later, earned the Young Alumni Award.

As an undergrad, Flinchbaugh says it was the Lehigh alumni he rubbed elbows with who inspired him to excel. “I had a chance to work on campus issues with several alumni,” he recalls. “Their dedication to the university was remarkable, and I'm just trying to live up to their legacy.”

Flinchbaugh, who earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering, has indeed lived up to the legacy. After Lehigh, he went on to earn an M.S. from the University of Michigan and an M.S. and M.B.A. from MIT. He is currently co-founder and partner of Lean Learning Center, an educating and consulting firm for companies in the health-care, manufacturing, and utility fields.

And if that didn’t keep him busy enough, he’s also principal and chief operating officer of Cobra Motorcycles, as well as a husband and father to two children.

He traces his success back to Lehigh. “First, Lehigh prepared me to be a lifelong learner, and I learn something new each and every day,” says Flinchbaugh, whose father, great-grandfather, wife, sister-in-law and brother-in-law also attended Lehigh. “Lehigh teaches you to take responsibility for your education by giving you a chance to inject yourself in opportunities that might not otherwise be available. Secondly, and this is even more true today than when I was there, Lehigh teaches you to integrate multiple disciplines. I was able to take courses such as a management consulting class that wasn't typical for an engineering student, allowing me to experience a much broader world.”

Flinchbaugh is certainly carrying on the tradition of integrating multiple disciplines into both of his professional roles. “A company cannot be successful today by doing just one thing well. You need to have the right skills, tools, processes, products and the right thinking,” Flinchbaugh says.

For example, the Lean Learning Center works with large manufacturing companies such as Harley-Davidson and Land O Lakes, as well as small manufacturers such as Ross Controls.

He is quick to point out that because great people are a part of both the Learning Center and Cobra Motorcycles, he can focus his expertise on the areas where his contributions are most needed.

Flinchbaugh's advice for fellow business owners is simple: Do it because you love it.

“If you start a venture purely to make money, and someone else does it because of the passion for the business, they are likely to be better at it than you,” he says. “Whether you are mildly or widely successful financially, if you follow your passion you can’t lose. And if you love what you do and have fun doing it, it isn’t work.”

--James Calder

Lehigh Alumni Bulletin Online
May 2005

Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2005

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