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PYSK: Rick Rowden

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 3.16.38 PMName: Rick Rowden

Title and company/organization: Chairman of the Boone County Republican Central Committee, chief operating officer of Pebble LLC

Age: 58

Job description: As chairman of the Boone County Republican Central Committee, I am charged with the task of helping Republicans get elected to public offices.

Years lived in Columbia/mid-Missouri: I’ve lived in Columbia for 23 years and have been a resident of Missouri all my life.

Original hometown: I was born in Kirkwood, Missouri; grew up in Sedalia; moved to the Joplin area; and then to the Lake of the Ozarks.

Education: I graduated from Smith Cotton High School in Sedalia in May 1974, married Julie Forbey in March 1975 and in January of the following year started what would be a 30-year career in the grocery business.

Community involvement: I am a 22-year member of Christian Chapel church here in Columbia. I have served as volunteer youth pastor, board member and life group director during those years. As a member of our church, I have engaged in many service projects throughout our community as well as overseas. I have worked on development projects with a number of nonprofit organizations during the past 15 years as well. Currently, I am the project development director for Teen Challenge of Central Missouri.

Professional background: My grocery career brought me to Columbia in 1992 and eventually led to the position of director of marketing with Nowell’s grocery stores. After the closing of Nowell’s, I became the development director for the Central Missouri Food Bank. During my time at the Food Bank, I was responsible for all areas of development along with overseeing the coordination of volunteers and agency relations.

While at the Food Bank, I began to see a real need for development-related services among smaller nonprofit organizations. I left the Food Bank and started the NFP Group. The purpose was to provide development for nonprofits that couldn’t afford a full-time person in that position.

A favorite recent project: I’ve been involved with Teen Challenge of Central Missouri for nearly three years. About two years ago I began raising money and working with local Realtor Randy Macon in finding a home for Teen Challenge. Just last week we signed the papers on a beautiful home north of Columbia near Clark Missouri.

Teen Challenge is a one-year residential drug and alcohol recovery program. Our local center will serve mothers who have struggled with addiction, and our program will allow the children of mothers in the program to stay in the home while in the mothers are in recovery. Being part of something that can change the lives of these mothers and impact generations to come is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever been involved with.

A Columbia businessperson I admire and why: Dave Griggs is one who stands out to me. Dave is a fantastic hands-on operator but still manages to find time to contribute back to his community in many ways. I think history will show how Dave helped to start and maintain a strong business culture in Columbia and Boone County.

Why I’m passionate about my job: As I was approaching the age of 50, I read a book called Halftime. The subtitle of that book is “moving from success to significance.” I decided at that time that in addition to making a living and having a career, I would always be involved in a cause, something that was bigger than myself.

Over the past several years, I have become more and more concerned about the direction of our country. It came to the point that I had to do more than just cast my vote; I had to get involved.

If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would: Without a doubt be a full-time Papaw. It is absolutely the best job I have ever had in my life. I have four grandchildren now: Zach, 8; Lydia, 7; Willem, 18 months; and Josiah, who is just a couple of weeks old.

What people should know about this profession: I have learned in my short time as chairman that this political process is way more complicated than most people realize. Running for office, getting elected and holding office takes a special person. I am glad there are those who are willing to do it.

What I do for fun: I am being a little redundant here, but outside of work my grandchildren are my world. Mamaw and I are so blessed to have all of them right here in the same town with us.

Family: My wife, Julie, and I have been married 40 years. My daughter, Bekah, is a kindergarten teacher at West Boulevard Elementary. She is married to Michael Jouret, and they are the parents of Zach, Lydia and Josiah. My son, Caleb Rowden, is a Missouri state representative in the 44th District. Caleb is married to Aubrey, and they have one son, Willem.

Favorite place in Columbia: Home.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I think I would need to change the question from “proud” to “thankful” to properly frame my response. I am thankful that in spite of, and sometimes due to, many challenges through the years, our family remains intact and very close.

Most people don’t know that I: Owned more than 30 cars before age 30, and I was not a dealer. My inventory included everything from a classic 1967 Mercedes to a 1974 Chevy Vega to a 1973 International Scout. My pride and joy was a yellow 1973 Plymouth Roadrunner. I wish I could say I still owned it today.

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