The first official “Groovers” photo was taken in the hallway of an off-campus house in Boulder in 1988. In the most recent one from 2021, the group strikes the same pose outside Bryon Beilman’s lake house in Maine.
Bryon Beilman (ElCompEngr’91) President, CEO and co-founder of iuvo Technologies
Michael Koertje (Hist, PolSci’89; Law’92) Assistant county attorney in Boulder County
Kelly Seibert (ChemEngr’91) Vice president and general manager of refining, Honeywell UOP
Kevin Seibert (ChemEngr’90) Associate Vice President, Eli Lilly
Mike O’Shea (MechEngr’90) Manager, gas transmission engineering, Xcel Energy
In the intervening years, there have been photos at weddings, CU football games and half-marathons. They get “a little grayer, a little balder,” said Kelly Seibert, but how much they enjoy each others’ company clearly never changes.
This academic year, an engineering student received the first Groovers Scholarship, which the group endowed in honor of where they came from and how their CU Boulder educations have helped them get where they are today.
Birth of the Groovers
The five met at Northglenn High School in Northglenn, Colorado. Kelly and Kevin Seibert are brothers, and the rest of the group got to know each other through classes and extracurricular activities.
They reconnected at CU Boulder while living in Andrews Hall, where they’d often meet for meals or study sessions, Beilman said. After two years in the dorms, they decided to get an off-campus apartment together.
The group’s name comes from the 1986 film Fandango starring Kevin Costner and Judd Nelson.
“The movie is about these friends who said when the first one gets married, they would go on this road trip, looking for a buried bottle of Dom Perignon somewhere in the desert,” Beilman said. “They called themselves the Groovers.”
When Kelly Seibert, the last single CU Groover, got married, the group celebrated with a bottle of Dom Perignon.
At a CU football game in 2014, Seibert was talking to a CU Engineering development officer about his company sponsoring a senior project when the subject of scholarships came up.
Inspired, Seibert contacted the other Groovers to see if they’d be interested in funding a scholarship as a group. Everyone was immediately on board, he said.
After kicking around a few “goofy” criteria for recipients, they settled on a need-based scholarship, with priority given to Northglenn High School graduates.
“We wanted to find somebody who could benefit how we would’ve benefited when we were back in college,” Seibert said.
All five worked and relied on financial aid to get through college, Beilman said. The group even shared a two-bedroom apartment to keep costs down.
“I can say for certain that we all came from very modest means,” he said.
Seibert remembered how they would mark the occasion when one of them did well on a test — “which wasn’t very often,” he joked.
“A big celebration for us was going down to the store and getting a bag of chips and a bottle of Pace Picante sauce,” he said. “That was a huge thing for us. We were always struggling on the financial side.”
While the endowment is on the smaller side today, Beilman said, the goal is for it to one day be a full-ride scholarship as each Groover continues to contribute.
Maintaining the bond
Today, all of the Groovers are doing well for themselves. After their time at CU Boulder, several went on to get advanced degrees and explore careers in engineering, business and law.
Beilman said an engineering education provides a solid base for any career, even if you don’t use the technical skills you learn.
“Engineering teaches you problem-solving and teaches you the discipline of how things build on each other,” he said. “I never actually utilized my electrical engineering degree. But the problem-solving and the background has allowed me to start this company and do everything I’ve done.”
Their time at CU Boulder also spawned a lifelong friendship that the group has maintained across distance and life changes.
The group didn’t see each other during 2020 because of the pandemic, but as soon as they felt safe to travel, they headed to Maine for a long weekend of Jet Skiing, bags tournaments and reconnection.
“It’s nice because we go without seeing each other for two years, and as soon as we get back together, it’s like we’re still living with each other back in college,” Seibert said.