Executive director, Mizzou Alumni Association
Years lived in Columbia:
Bachelor’s degree in communications from Truman State University and master’s degree in education from University of Missouri
I do whatever it takes to keep Mizzou graduates supporting their alma mater. Our departments are responsible for alumni engagement and annual giving. I work for 260,000 alumni, 42,000 members and 30 incredible staff members.
I currently serve on the Boone County Family Resources board of directors and the American Red Cross regional board of directors. I also serve as an Upward basketball coach and Diamond Council baseball coach.
I can honestly say that I have never worked anywhere else. Following graduate school, I began as a coordinator of alumni relations and have worked in the same office ever since. It has been the greatest job and profession I never knew existed.
A favorite recent project:
Conference realignment over the past few years has been a challenge and a great opportunity for the alumni association. There was ample opportunity for the association to serve as the voice of alumni on the topic. There was also a great deal of opportunity to inform and educate alumni. In the end, it wasn’t our role to take a position but to act as a conduit for information. Now that we are moving to the SEC, there is a great deal of work in informing alumni about the conference and culture. We also are familiarizing ourselves with the other universities. We are discussing how game days in Columbia could look different this fall. And we are fielding a lot of interest from alumni in the Southeast about starting alumni chapters.
A Columbia businessperson I admire and why:
There are many, and many are Mizzou grads, so I need to be careful. However, the two I lean on the most are my father, Don, who is wrapping up his career at Shelter Insurance, and my brother Travis, who is the general manager of The Club at Old Hawthorne. I have always admired my father’s work ethic, professionalism and relationship-building skills. He’s the perfect role model, and I’m grateful for that. Travis has combined his passion, golf, with a strong work ethic to build a wonderful career. I am fortunate to have them both close by.
Why I’m passionate about my job:
Since I was a kid I have always loved Mizzou. It started by worshipping Norm Stewart and the Tigers, but I have come to appreciate what a treasure the university is for Columbia and our state. I believe higher education is a real difference-maker. My father was the first in his family to go to college, so I see what a difference it has made for our family. Giving back or supporting MU’s mission in some way just seems natural.
If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would:
Be an athletic director or basketball coach somewhere, living and dying with every game!
Biggest career obstacle I’ve overcome and how:
Patience — taking time to consider opinions and contributions — is important. Leadership doesn’t mean making a quick decision, it means making the right decision.
What people should know about this profession:
That it is a profession. I am not sure I could say that when I started in 1995. Building and maintaining meaningful, long-term relationships with thousands of alumni is not easy. As MU depends more on private giving due to dwindling state funding, those long-term relationships are critical. It is up to us to give alumni reasons why and ways to invest in Mizzou.
What I do for fun:
Our family loves to attend sporting events at Mizzou and cheer for the Tigers. I am also “that guy” who is constantly doing something outside in the yard.
My wife, Debbie; our daughters, Avery, 11, and Mya, 9; and our son, Tate, 6
Favorite place in Columbia:
Nothing beats a fall football Saturday in Columbia. I make it a point to drive through downtown as I come into work on those days. The town is electric.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of:
As it relates to work, I love the team and work culture we have built at the alumni association and annual fund. I work with awesome people who love Mizzou and working with each other. Personally, Debbie and our children are the best things in my life.
Most people don’t know that I:
Grew up on a century old farm in northern Boone County and was heavily involved in 4-H. It was a great way to grow up, and it taught me many lessons that I use today.