Brian T. Heil, E’80

Trustee & #1, Epsilon Trustee Corporation

The power of friendship of true gentlemen.

Brian T. Heil, E’80, Epsilon Trustee Corporation #1, found Chi Psi as a result of a prank. “I showed up at Ann Arbor as a 17-year-old. My older brother told me to sign up for Bursley which, honestly, is the worst dorm there is. He was doing it to prank me, but through it, I met Karl Krecke, E’80, and David Sheppard, E’80, who were in the same hall as me. 

Karl’s dad and grandfather were Thumpties, so he was planning on joining there but Thumpties were on hard times so they both went next door. I had no intention of joining a fraternity or rushing as a freshman but they both rushed me the next year as a soph… and it was just so wonderful. The chemistry, the dynamics. I like to say the Lodge was a place of uncommon characters, of character. The actives were great and the alumni were great. I knew I wanted to be part of Alpha Epsilon.” 

He says that from the first moment he joined the Lodge, he knew that Chi Psi was special. “Our Brotherhood was really diverse, and so close and just got so much done.”

He says that the Brothers attracted him to the Lodge right away, “but the place was falling apart.” During his time at the Lodge, he watched as alumni came together to plan on renovating the Lodge back to its former glory. By the time he graduated, he knew that he wanted to be part of that group of Brothers. “I moved from one side of the Corporation meeting room to the other at graduation,” he said as he continued to give back to the Brotherhood that had given him so much. 

“Things needed to be renovated, and we did it. From the time I graduated until the sesquicentennial in 1995. We did major things like the slate roof and new windows, all-new bathrooms, and plumbing. David Di Rita, E’86 came up with a brilliant plan to modernize and commercialize our kitchen so we could rent it out. It turned the space into an income source and today eight fraternities are fed out of our licensed kitchen.” 

As he went on to establish his career and start his family—he’s worked at GM for 39 years ‘designing engines and managing people’—he says that his time at Chi Psi impacted his success. “I think absolutely the level of humor, heightened discussion at Lodge helped me in my career. I was constantly surrounded by 35 of the brightest of the bright. By the time I went into the workforce, I was comfortable standing up and speaking in public, clearly stating my position. I was better for my involvement in Chi Psi.”

“We are special. We have this amazing Lodge just across from Law School which is gorgeous. We have a lot of special alumni. We are really fortunate. We’ve done a lot of good, but there is still a lot more to be done.”

Without Chi Psi, I would not know what the friendship of a true gentleman is.