Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sweet Alumni Connections on the West Coast


This past week, several of us traveled to the West Coast, meeting new friends and reconnecting with former students and supporters of LETU. Starting in Los Angeles, we also traveled to Cupertino and Seattle. I ended up in Vancouver, Canada, visiting an alumnus from the 1960s who remembers fondly his days here in Longview.

I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Pratt in El Segundo, Calif. Chris graduated from LETU in 1991 with a degree in electrical engineering. He went on to earn a graduate engineering degree from Cornell and marry his wife Peilin, a Harvard Law graduate. While practicing engineering in L.A., Chris became interested in the Internet and e-commerce. A simple experiment in selling candy demonstrated the potential of the technology. Soon, he left his job working with electric vehicles to start CandyWarehouse.com.

The night we visited (the Pratts were kind enough to host an alumni reception), the warehouse was filled with over 300 tons of every candy I could imagine. Orders arrive day and night, and Chris ships large orders of candy daily. Who buys? Often his customers are planning candy buffets for weddings and showers. Go to their website, and you'll see that you can sort by color to create that perfect buffet.

With Chris and Peilin Pratt in their candy warehouse in Los Angeles, Calif.
Chris is no Willy Wonka! I can see that he uses the analytical reasoning of his LETU engineering education to refine the logistics of his business and improve both customer service and profit. I could also see his LETU heart in the care for his employees and the fun, supportive work environment Peilin and he have created.

You can learn more about the Pratts' company in one of their YouTube videosYou can see their other website videos here.  

When Chris graduated from LETU over two decades ago, I'm sure his candy company was not even imaginable to him. As our newest graduates cross the stage this coming Saturday, only God knows what new businesses they will start and what workplaces they will claim for Jesus Christ.