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PYSK: Elaine Blodgett

President, Columbia-Boone County

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES: Providing leadership for an organization with diverse interests, all relating to citizenship and civic responsibility. Very interesting and exciting.


ORIGINAL HOMETOWN: Webster Groves, Mo.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in education from Southeast Missouri State University. Master’s degree in history from the University of Missouri-Columbia

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Member of the I-70 Transportation Committee and MoDot Committee for Columbia as well as the 2005 Transportation Tax Committee. Worked with Friends of the Library and served on the task force for the Weldon Springs Nuclear Waste Clean-Up in St. Charles County.

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Teacher of history and social studies at Meramec R III and Pattonville in the St. Louis area. Homemaker for a few years. Outreach educator for two non-profit organizations. Bookstore owner. Currently do part-time work at the Assessment Resource Center at the University of Missouri.

A COLUMBIA BUSINESSPERSON I ADMIRE AND WHY: Dave Griggs. I am familiar with his business and have been on committees with him, but I don’t know him very well. I admire him from seeing how active he is in the community. He seems to care greatly about the Columbia community and is very pleasant to work with.

LAST BOOK I READ: Spying for Empire: The Great Game in Central and South Asia, 1757-1947 by Robert Johnson — and any mystery novel I can get my hands on.

WHEN I WAS A CHILD, I WANTED TO GROW UP TO BE: A United States senator from Missouri.

HOW I CHOSE THIS CAREER: I was curious about government and history early on. I read all kinds of books on famous men and women and was inspired to do something helpful for people. I remember first being fascinated by listening to both of the party conventions on the radio; the speeches, the voting and the re-voting for presidential nominees were wonderful. Such action.

BIGGEST CAREER OBSTACLE I’VE OVERCOME: I worked many years in education as a teacher and in educational outreach positions and then decided to open a bookstore. Going into a tough business and making any kind of living at it were but two of the obstacles. I did what I had always done: Slowly but surely I kept moving forward, going with the idea that I could do it, despite others’ fears or negativity. I learned and observed others in the field. My former partner still continues with the business.

MY BEST ADVICE TO SOMEONE IN THIS FIELD: Always learn as much as you can about the business and your competitors. Seek out a mentor, and keep up with the latest technology.

HOBBIES, INTERESTS: Hiking, quilting, traveling, gardening.

FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND A SATURDAY MORNING: I go to the Farmers’ Market and get fresh foods and visit with friends. Then I go home and read, garden or watch the latest cooking programs on PBS.

ACCOMPLISHMENT I’M MOST PROUD OF: A lifetime of helping my son and others, through teaching history in school and in the community, to see the value of being an involved citizen. Of course, the work is never done.

MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT: I am a big fan of Mark Knopfler’s and Jerry Lee Lewis’s music.

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