David Mudrick ’86: When Opportunity Knocks

David Mudrick (SBUS ’86) knows a thing or two about making the most of his opportunities. As a student in the School of Business at Montclair State University, he took full advantage of the chance to work at Ernst & Whinney in his junior and senior years, even when some of the duties were of the ‘gofer’ variety. That part-time employment and subsequent internship provided invaluable real-world experience that served him well, and he leveraged it to quickly secure a position there after graduating from Montclair State with a BS in business administration with a concentration in accounting. “I was competing against students from higher-profile schools, but they didn’t have the experience I had, so that gave me an advantage,” he recalls. A few years later, he again drew upon his college preparation when successfully applying to the highly competitive MBA program at Duke University.

In 1993, Dave joined Topcon America Corporation, the U.S. unit of Japan’s Topcon Corporation, rising through the ranks of the finance organization and becoming the company’s CFO in 2000.  He was then promoted to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer in 2007 — the first person of non-Japanese descent to earn the position in the company’s 45-year history in the United States. Topcon is the world’s leading maker of ophthalmic, surveying, GPS, and industrial instruments and positioning control products for the civil engineering and construction industries. It was recently ranked one of the top five in NJBiz magazine’s NJ’s Finest: 50 Fastest Growing Companies.

In 2004, Mudrick was named by NJBiz magazine as a recipient of their “Forty under 40” Award.  This award recognizes business people in the state who have established themselves as innovative leaders in their businesses and communities.

Both of Mudrick’s grandfathers were coal miners, and his construction-worker father helped to build the Meadowlands sports facilities. His parents, of Ukrainian heritage, made it a priority to send him and his siblings to Catholic schools to prepare them with good core values for future success.

He was one of the first in his family to go to college and commuted to his classes from Lodi, NJ, like many other Montclair State alumni. “I got a very good education at Montclair State and made life-long friends there,” Mudrick adds proudly. Now he is helping the current generation of Montclair State students to make the most of their opportunities. Topcon was one of four companies that participated this year in “The Strategist” business challenge program, a competition in the School of Business loosely patterned after the successful television program, “The Apprentice.” The Strategist gives students the opportunity to partner with local business leaders to solve real-world business challenges while simultaneously providing business leaders with fresh perspectives on growing their businesses. Working with Topcon presented a challenging assignment for the students because of the highly technical nature of the company’s work, but the students performed well, thanks to Mudrick’s assistance.

In spite of his busy professional schedule, which involves frequent national and international travel, Mudrick is serious about his commitment to his alma mater, serving as a member of the School of Business Advisory Board. He also was a member of President Susan A. Cole’s Senior Executive Advisory Group.  In addition, he has graciously hosted two successful alumni events at the North Jersey Country Club in Wayne. He is a loyal supporter of the Montclair State Annual Fund and a strong advocate for the critical need for support for student internships and scholarships for today’s students. As his schedule allows, he occasionally teaches as an adjunct accounting instructor at Montclair State.  In addition, he is often invited as a guest lecturer in graduate level courses.  Mudrick enjoys working with the School of Business and talking about the value of his experiences at Montclair State and the positive contribution the institution has had on his life and career.

Mr. Mudrick is married to Montclair State alumna Maria (Cecere) Mudrick ’89, who also has a business degree from the University. She had a successful career in advertising before they began their family 15 years ago.  They are the proud parents of fraternal twins, Michaela and Connor, and are very active in their Wyckoff, New Jersey community.