ASG names student businessman, former DU head to new positions

    Associated Student Government appointed two ASG outsiders to its newly created positions on Tuesday.

    Medill junior Bill Pulte, President of Pi Kappa Alpha, has been named Vice President. Weinberg junior Tom Smithburg, former President of Delta Upsilon, will become Human Resources Director.

    ASG President Neal Sales-Griffin said that when he interviewed both Pulte and Smithburg their passion and knowledge of ASG were evident. “They did their homework. They read through quarterly reports, looked through candidates’ platforms and knew about the structural changes,” Sales-Griffin said.

    The Vice President will take on some duties previously held by the President and Executive Vice President and serve as a liaison to administrators. Pulte will be working on executive-level initiatives set forth by the Academic, Student Services, Community Relations and External Relations Committees.

    In his freshman year, Pulte founded the online business, which provided Northwestern students with a forum to buy and sell goods, and make announcements. He sold to help pay for his pilot’s license, which would be integral to his next business venture.

    Pulte now runs Great Lake Helicopters, LLC, an aerial photography firm for the North Shore. Pulte told North By Northwestern last year that flying has been a dream of his since he was a kid. If he continues the business after graduation, Pulte said at the time, he would try to make it the “McDonald’s of aerial photography.”

    Pulte also served as Blake Yocom’s campaign manager in the fall when he ran against President Neal Sales-Griffin. Sales-Griffin says he was friendly and cordial during that race and, while he and Sales-Griffin are both entrepreneurs, Pulte’s experience as a businessman was not a huge factor in the decision.

    As Human Resources Director, Smithburg will help to manage student involvement and improve organizational efficiency. Smithburg was president of Delta Upsilon when the fraternity gained notoriety for bringing the Half Pint Brawlers, a midget wrestling group, to a pledge event.

    During the selection process, Sales-Griffin said he viewed the midget scandal as a good thing for Smithburg as a candidate. “When Tommy explained to us what he learned from [the scandal] it said a lot to us,” Griffin said. “It’s important for people to learn from tough times and you can learn a lot from failure.”

    The two positions were created under an amendment to ASG’s code in the spring. The change was subject to much debate.

    During original deliberations of the constitution, then-senior Cassie Witten said changes to ASG “can happen within the framework we already have.”

    “I didn’t hear in there any reason to add the positions that were added in the code,” said Witten at the time, who had been a senator for the last two years and a half. “Every year as soon as a president gets in, they look at the constitution and try to revise it.”

    Executive Vice President Vikram Karandikar described the amendments at the time as “a call for help” with the overwhelming functions of the president and the executive vice president, while Sales-Griffin said that the “opportunities” they create are “way greater than the costs.”

    Pulte and Smithburg will be presenting themselves and their positions at ASG Senate on Wednesday night.


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