By Ann Gill (M.A., ’76)
The chief commercial and sustainability officer at Ball Corporation is a Ram. Kathleen Reid Pitre (B.A., ’00; M.S., ’04) started at Ball Aerospace in 2003 as an intern; 16 years later, she was named to the company’s senior sales and sustainability role. This meteoric rise was not surprising to anyone who knew her during her time at CSU.
While pursuing an undergraduate degree in speech communication, Pitre worked as camera operator for Distance Education, taping on-campus courses for students enrolled in CSU’s distance MBA program. She says, “I have an unofficial MBA as a result of that experience.” She next began a graduate program in technical communication part time, also working at Athletics Media, University Advancement, and as a TA for journalism courses. This work ethic and experience set the foundation for her extraordinary career.
In 2003, Pitre began an internship at Ball Aerospace, working in education and public outreach. She helped inform the public about NASA missions and careers in aerospace. After three months, she became a full-time employee. In this new role, she wrote, edited, and coordinated RFPs for defense missions, focusing on satellites and sensors. She then transitioned into communications and spent over six years as manager of Internal Communications for Ball Aerospace, followed by two years as director of Marketing and Communications.
Her next move was to the parent company, Ball Corporation, which in addition to Ball Aerospace has global aluminum beverage packaging and aerosol packaging businesses. Her title was director of Corporate Relations and executive director of Ball Foundation, the corporation’s philanthropic arm.
In September 2015, Pitre became vice president of Communication and Corporate Relations for Ball; where she led communications with community and government relations as well as sustainability. In July, she was named chief commercial and sustainability officer, a role that takes Pitre to South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Her busy life involves much more than career. She is devoted to husband Jason and sons Nolan and Brady. Among their many family adventures are attending CSU sports events. Pitre developed a love of Ram sports as a child; her grandparents had season tickets to football, men’s and women’s basketball, and volleyball. She also is part of a family of Ram alumni, including her mother and father, Mary Alice (B.A., ’77) and Jim Reid (M.Ed., ’77; M.S.W., ’91), and brothers Matthew (B.A., ’96) and Michael (M.B.A., ’15).
Pitre’s love of CSU extends beyond sports; she “learned how to think at CSU and the value of being part of something bigger than yourself.” Her career is not what she had anticipated while an undergraduate, but it has turned out wonderfully. She explains: “Ball has a can-do spirit just like CSU has. The humility and teamwork at Ball are similar to CSU’s, which is very important to me.” Ball also shares with CSU a deep commitment to sustainability; Pitre explains, “it is the heart of our business model.” Her experience at Ball has been “amazing. The opportunity to go from intern to chief commercial officer says as much about Ball as it does about me. They have provided wonderful mentorship, support, and opportunity.”