President and chief operating officer, Socket Telecom
Years lived in Columbia:
Whatever it takes! I work for 130 internal and 18,000 external customers.
Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri.
Currently serving on the Ronald McDonald House board of directors.
I started off out of college as a site engineer on various construction projects across the Midwest. I moved into sales and management consulting with various Missouri-based companies when I had the opportunity to work with my brother’s consulting firm based out of Columbia. Socket was one of our clients in the late 1990s, and I had a chance to see what these guys were doing and wanted to be a part of it. Since then I have been in and out of most departments and transitioned into my current role as president and COO in September 2010.
A favorite recent project:
Working on our fiber-optics network has been a real challenge, and as we start turning up high-speed Internet for more and more customers with fiber we are seeing the rewards of years of hard work. It is an industry that is still in its infancy, so we are finding alternative ways to more cost-effectively deliver higher speed connections. We see ourselves continuing down this path and bringing fiber to even more businesses and homes in the future.
A Columbia businessperson I admire and why:
My partners at Socket, both past and present, have been great. They have allowed me the freedom to fail.
Why I’m passionate about my job:
Telecommunications is a growth industry. I like that it changes quickly, and it can become very complex when developing solutions for a customer.
If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would:
Be farming or involved in the construction industry. The first is a passion and the latter comes easiest.
Biggest career obstacle I’ve overcome and how:
Appreciating others’ opinions and contributions. I am guilty of thinking everyone’s work could be done quicker and easier. This can be great for driving toward goals but can lead to burnout of the most important part of your company — your people.
What people should know about this profession:
Telecommunications is a great industry with a bright future. I don’t see the services we offer to businesses and home users becoming less popular. If you look at market trends, we are just at the base of a large growth curve.
What I do for fun:
Spending time with my wife and kids. I also enjoy challenging physical activities and being outdoors. I like racing ATVs cross-country, mountain biking, hunting and fishing. I am also a bit of a gear head and enjoy working with mechanical projects.
My wife, Jennifer, and our son Max, 5, and daughter Audrey, 2.
Accomplishment of which I’m most proud:
As it relates to work, the growth of our company and our people. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing employees become passionate about their work each and every day. We are at a critical phase in our industry where we have to continue growing to stay competitive, and our people will make the difference.
Most people don’t know that I:
Am the youngest of seven children from a farm in northern Missouri. My parents are the hardest-working people I know, and I owe them everything for any success I might have.