Photo by Elizabeth G. Conley
A Buckeye energy source
The alumni board’s Margie Harris reflects on how her Ohio State experience enriches her fulfilling life.
Growing up in Columbus, Margie Harris ’82 knew all about the power of The Ohio State University. What she didn’t know was that her education as a finance major in Fisher College of Business would put her on a path to a three-decade career serving in high-profile roles at Fortune 500 companies, private equity firms and public startups. Harris, who last year was named one of the Power 50 women at the National Diversity and Leadership Conference, is senior vice president and chief human resources officer for a liquefied natural gas development company in Houston. It’s a leadership position that draws on her vast experience across the energy industry, which has included exploration and production, construction, transportation, wholesale power and distribution. Prior to her focus on HR, Harris held financial positions at Continental (now United) Airlines and Shell Oil Co.
- How did Ohio State set you on the path to your career success?
My degree really shaped me professionally. It provided the foundation of my business knowledge, allowed me to work with confidence and become a critical thinker to tackle tough issues. I worked very hard as a student, was involved in Greek life, was recognized as a Pace Setter within Fisher and was an inaugural member of Student-Alumni Council. My degree was the culmination of all of these experiences — the “icing on the cake” as I jettisoned into the professional work world just a few weeks later.
- What’s your proudest day as an alum?
In 2018, I was recognized by Fisher with its Excellence in Service Award based on my contributions to the local community and Ohio State. It was especially meaningful to me to receive this award, as I very much value my degree from Ohio State, and when coupled with my professional achievements, I have been able to give back in a variety of ways. In addition to feeling grateful, I walked away from that weekend inspired by Fisher’s ongoing commitment to creating future leaders who are smart, capable and ready to lead with principles, ethics and the desire to give back to their communities. Seeing that firsthand only reaffirmed my pride in being a Buckeye and Fisher graduate.
- What is your most meaningful piece of Ohio State gear?
I have a lot, but the one item I have cherished since it was given to me by a young woman in Houston who grew up in Worthington, Ohio — she knew I was a Buckeye, like herself — is a handmade buckeye necklace.
- What were some of your favorite destinations on campus as a student?
My favorite place to study was Page Hall. My go-to spots to eat were Bernie’s Bagels, Donato’s and the Varsity Club. My social life centered around my Alpha Phi sorority.
- Can you reflect on the past year and the work of the alumni association and board?
The pandemic has been a challenge to all organizations, including the university and OSUAA. We have been tested to think differently about engagement and affiliation. With the budget tightening in 2020, the association used electronic platforms brilliantly to reach and connect with our alumni.
- What single piece of advice do you have for new alumni? How about for students?
An aspect of our university’s mission is to foster a culture of engagement and service. I encourage our alumni to continue to embrace the university, give back in time, treasure or service, and continue to make Ohio State a top institution. For new alumni, the university and alumni association have so much to offer, so continue to engage and affiliate. You will always be able to connect with a Buckeye — we are everywhere! For students, I would say work hard, enjoy your experiences and make a difference. Your college days are a time to expand your knowledge and life horizons.
About the author
Dan Caterinicchia (he/him/his) is assistant vice president for strategy and administration in the Office of Advancement, where he has held various positions in the last five years. He previously taught in the School of Communication, overseeing the Lantern Media Group and its incredible students for much of his time there. Dan lives in Columbus with his wife and three children.