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Poole College alumnus Chuck Keeley Honored at Evening of Stars Gala Event

Chuck Keeley, B.A., Business Management ’85, in his office at CGR Products.
Chuck Keeley, B.A., Business Management ’85, in his office at CGR Products.

Chuck Keeley, B.A., Business Management ’85, is among 17 individuals who were honored at the NC State Alumni Association’s 2018 Evening of Stars Gala, held Thursday, November 1, at the NC State Talley Student Union.

Keeley, who attended the awards program with his wife, Merrill, and two of their three sons, Charlie and Jake, received the Poole College of Management’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

This gala event is rooted in NC State tradition – going back to the early 1940’s when the Alumni Association began recognizing noteworthy graduates. As the number of extraordinary alumni has grown over the years, so has the celebration, with NC State colleges and the Wolfpack Club joining in the recognition of alumni who excel in their fields and have enriched NC State’s history and increased the value of an NC State degree.

“I am honored to be chosen as the Poole College of Management’s alumnus of the year. My father graduated in 1952, I graduated in 1985, and my oldest son has recently been accepted in the Jenkins MBA program” Keeley said.

Preparing Leaders in Business, Industry, Community Service

“NC State prepared my father to start our company, CGR Products (established in 1962 in Greensboro, N.C., as Carolina Gasket and Rubber Company) and it prepared me to continue in his footsteps,” he said.  Keeley has served as CGR Products’ president since 1995. In that role, he coordinates and drives the company’s strategic planning process, directly supports and develops the company’s leadership team, and oversees the financial and operational performance of the company and risk assessment.

Under his leadership as president, the company has been twice recognized as one of the Triad Business Journal’s Fast 50 – the region’s fastest-growing privately held companies – in 2012 and 2014.

The company now has manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, Alabama and Wisconsin with 135 employees and over 200,000 square feet of manufacturing, office, and warehouse space.

In his community, Keeley has received the Greensboro Day Schools’ 2014 Alumni Service Award in recognition of his exemplary leadership in voluntary service to the school’s board. He is an alumnus of the school, and he and his wife are among its passionate supporters. They have established the Neptune Outdoor Experiential Learning Endowment to support outdoor experiential learning programming at the school, including a Junior Backpacking Trip, and he has also has served on the school’s board of trustees and as the 2008 capital campaign co-chair. Keeley also is a volunteer and supporter of the Eagle’s Nest Foundation and Family Service of the Piedmont.

At NC State, Keeley shares his professional expertise with the Poole College of Management by serving as a judge for its annual Leadership and Innovation Showcase. Held each spring, this event provides the college’s undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to present the results of their practicum and other applied learning projects and to compete for prizes and other recognition.

“As a judge for the Showcase, I have been overwhelmed by the high quality of the projects and the students every year,” Keeley said. “In one case, I listened as the team explained how they came up with a solution for young teenage girls in rural parts of Africa that were missing school because they were getting infections from menstruation cups, not a topic where I have a lot of expertise.

“That said, it was a multifaceted problem, but the solution was fairly simple and cost effective. It was a project that had a positive impact for young people on the other side of the world. What a great story that accentuates the think and do attitude at NC State,” he said.

“This showcase has made me incredibly excited about our future and how far these young people can take us. Anybody complaining about the youth of today needs to spend just one minute on this campus to see how much these students have to offer,” he said.

College-day Memory – a Memorable Basketball Game

Keeley said he also has numerous memories of his own time as an NC State student, but one in particular – an out of classroom experience – came to mind as he was reminiscing.

“As you remember, we won the national basketball championship in 1983 in Albuquerque, N.M., with Jim Valvano as our coach,” Keeley said. It has been dubbed a “miraculous, last-minute 54-52 win over Houston” that credits Ernie Myers with “one rebound in one minute.”

“If you remember the videos of Ernie Meyers climbing up onto the basketball hoop – I was one of the people pushing on his feet to help him get up. That was after I pushed myself through the police line that was trying to keep us off the court – not one of my finer moments,” Keeley said.

“To cap off the celebration, I literally ran over the press tables and up in the stands to give my father a great big hug. It was a special moment.”

Last night at the award ceremony, Keeley shared, “I am so proud to be affiliated with the NC State Poole College of Management and I accept this honor on behalf of my father who got us started at NC State so many years ago. He would be very proud to see our family giving back to this great university. Thanks, Dad, and Go Pack!”

The Keeley family recently established an endowed scholarship in the Poole College of Management that will support need-based scholarships in memory of Chuck Keeley’s late father, NCSU alumnus Charles Allen Styer Keeley, ’53, College of Engineering.

Previous Poole College Evening of the Stars Honorees

  • 2017 – Ken Torok
  • 2016 – Robert “Chip” Andrews, III
  • 2015 – Clifton B. Knight, Jr.
  • 2014 – Charles Stallings
  • 2013 – (Event was not held this year)
  •  2012 – Kevin Beasley
  • 2011 – Jon Bartley
  • 2010 – Jon Rufty
  • 2009 – Christine Holmes
  • 2008 – J.R. Shearin
  • 2007 – David Morgan
  • 2006 – Gary Massey
  • 2005 – Stan Kelly
  • 2004 – Michael Constantino
  • 2003 – Dr. H. Fred Gallasch, Jr.
  • 2002 – Dr. Alvin Cruze
  • 2001 – Dr. Hans Peter Binswanger
  • 2000 – Billy Ray Hall
  • 1999 – Dr. James Owens
  • 1998 – Harold S. Licthin
  • 1997 – Richard Bryant
  • 1996 – Mrs. Anne Marie Pecht
  • 1995 – Will B. Spence, Jr.
  • 1994 – Johnny B. Kerr