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Jim Tenzillo

Jim Tenzillo

Director | Invest Michigan | Class of 2008

In the immortal words of UI Communication Professor Tom Costello, “Don’t be a jerk.”

That’s just one of the to-the-point life lessons future Invest Michigan Director Jim Tenzillo remembers soaking in during his time around the man who’d become his favorite faculty member.

“I took two different classes with Tom and was his teaching assistant for another. He made class fun and engaging — I saw my public communication skills grow leaps and bounds during my time in his classes,” says Tenzillo, a 2008 graduate of the Gies College of Business.

“More importantly, Tom was a great mentor, intermixing communication lessons with important life lessons, including my favorite lesson of his — ‘Don’t be a jerk.’”

As for a favorite spot, well, that’s an easy call, too.

“Out of all the places on campus, I probably spent the most time, consistently, at Kam’s,” Tenzillo says. “We always found a reason to go to Kam’s: the 2004-05 Final Four basketball team, watching the White Sox and Bears make championship runs in 2005 and 2006, celebrating the Illini Rose Bowl team, Breakfast Club before football games, country night or simply just because it was a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday night.

“The floors were sticky, there was often standing water somewhere, the basement ceiling usually had a leak, and it sometimes smelled. But it gathered all of your friends in one place, drinks were cheap, they played all the latest hot jams and you could always count on running into the random classmate, floor mate or high school friend you hadn’t seen in years and bonding over a drink.

“It was the epitome of college bars — and that’s why we loved it.”