Vyacheslav Shestopalov graduated from the CPI’s Faculty of Metallurgy on the specialty “Corrosion and protection of metals” in 1985. During this time, he passed the uneasy road from postgraduate student to Director General of the company he had been dreaming to establish for many years. Director General of the RB-Composite Scientific and Production Company, advisor of the Carbon and Composite Materials Plant Limited Company of the Rosatom Corporation, Vyacheslav Shestopalov recalls how the CPI turned him into a top-class specialist.
– Why did you choose the specialty of Corrosion and protection of metals at the CPI?
– I graduated from a specialized school where I studied advanced chemistry. In 1980, the only decent educational institution in Chelyabinsk was the CPI, to where I decided enrolling after graduation from high school. I chose the specialty directly connected with physical and chemical research, which subsequently opened to me a new area – composite materials.
– Was it difficult to get admitted to the CPI?
– I wouldn’t say so. Before the university I graduated from military school. I was late to get admitted for the full-time attendance, as the admission finished before my returning, so I had to take evening classes. After a month of study I got transferred to full-time study in the specialty “Metallurgy of ferrous metals” where I passed my first term exams. Having passed the exams, I was offered to transfer to a chemical specialty; back then it considered elite, and the admission score was 24 out of 25.
– What did you like better, scientific content or practice?
– I started actively pursue science back in high school, where I obtained quite decent background. Having entered the university I realized that I can keep moving in this direction. From the first year of study I started participating in student science, during the second year I was elected as a President of the Institute’s Student Scientific Society. Together with the students who took part in combat operations in Afghanistan we created a student scientific and production team, the first one in the Soviet Union, and organized our own laboratory in the second academic building. This laboratory not only allowed us developing in science, but also brought profits.
– Which lecturers do you remember most of all?
– My scientific supervisor, Anatoliy Ilyich Stroganov, who was the Dean of the Faculty. Generally speaking, the Faculty of Metallurgy was well-known by its legendary professors who were notorious not only in the Soviet Union but also abroad. Besides Stroganov, there are David Yakovlevich Povolotskiy and Aleksandr Vladimirovich Vydrin. These people were creating domestic metallurgy.
– Did you have favorite subjects?
– Metallurgical Science. By its difficulty it can be compared to Strength of Materials. You either pass the exam on Metallurgical Science or you’re out. I remember my teacher threatening that I will never pass this subject, but I received an “A”.
– Tell us about your student group.
– Our group was very interesting. When I joined in after the first set of term exams, there were 25 people in it. The same number of students made it to the thesis defense. There were 2 boys and 23 girls in our group. It is no surprise, because the specialty was elite, and girls in that age think about study more than boys. I know that one of our female groupmates, Irina Orlova (Novikova) is now the head of a production corporation of the Chelyabinsk region. Of course our groupmates got scattered around the world, but I am sure that they succeeded, because we were “forged” in a strong school.
– What did studying at the CPI give you?
– First of all, it formed me as a specialist, as a person who is capable of creating something important and useful. During my study, the CPI was a place where one could succeed as a leader who can work with people. I believe that the CPI, now SUSU, is still like this.
– How did your life go after graduation from the Institute?
– After graduation from the CPI I got admitted for postgraduate studies, and defended my dissertation after three years. Then I became a Head of a laboratory at the Faculty. In the 90s I started my own business, I worked in the USA, in Austria. A series of corporate projects managed by me was formed. Then I got an offer to become Director of the FSUE Zavod Plastmass (the city of Kopeysk), the largest-in-the-country enterprise producing ammunition supplies. After that, I was also the Head of a subholding consisting of five arsenal enterprises of the Ministry of Defense. Now I do exactly what I’ve been aspiring to for all these years – I’ve created a Scientific and Production Company which performs development of composite materials.
– What can you wish for SUSU students?
– To think about your job, about the activity that you will want to carry out after graduation from the university. This is the only way you can organize your educational process for absorbing knowledge and have professional growth. Nobody can force knowledge into your head. Everything depends on you. If you want to achieve something, go for it.
– What is your motto?
– Struggle and search, discover and keep developing. If a man has a goal and he dedicates his life to achieving this goal, he will surely succeed.