Tell us about your background.
I am a CPA and I did the accounting thing for almost 30 years. Then I got into consulting, so I was working with clients and placing accountants into contract roles. I was also working with businesses and developing relationships.
When this opportunity at Concordia came up, it was very similar. It’s a dual role working with the students and getting them prepared, but then also working with the community and networking locally, regionally, and even worldwide to find those opportunities for our students.
My experience in the consulting world and building that network is what really gave me a jump into that piece of this position, as well as being in the business world for 30 years you learn the in’s and out’s and do’s and don’ts of how you act, how you network, and what employers are looking for.
I am originally from Park Rapids, Minn., and I am an ’86 grad with a major in accounting and minor in computer science. Then I came here and got lucky to come back to Concordia and work with my alma mater, which has been wonderful.
Why do you think the Offutt School of Business is such a special place for students? Why should students think about business as a career?
Here at the Offutt School of Business, we embrace the liberal arts education and encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Business is a part of everything you do, no matter what your area of study is.
Our small class sizes allow students to have one-on-one experiences with professors. Our faculty take time to ensure that each student is able to leave the classroom feeling confident. We also have our own career office here at Concordia. Through the career office, the students are able to interact with business professionals that can help them prepare for and enter the business world.
We also have the BREW, which is our own student-run coffee shop that the students can engage in and run. The BREW is such an amazing opportunity for students in the way that it allows them to experience what it is like to run your own business. The BREW offers students a peek into the daily activity and challenges of running your own business.
What are some PEAK opportunities in the Offutt School of Business?
The BREW, the Offutt School’s student-run coffee shop, is a great opportunity as far as a PEAK experience. You don’t get more into the down and dirty of the everyday experience of running a business and dealing with all kinds of issues and it really does immerse you in the business. Our healthcare program has some great PEAK opportunities; they totally immerse students in their 1,000-hour practicum for long-term care. Regardless of the area or major, there is going to be a PEAK experience available and we work with students that want to create their own PEAK experience.
We are working with companies like Bobcat to make all of their internships PEAKs, so if a student gets an internship at Bobcat it will already have been preapproved for a PEAK experience.
Why is Fargo-Moorhead a great community for students to find internships?
The Fargo-Moorhead community is great. The employers are wonderful here. They love Cobbers and working with the businesses here is a wonderful experience. If a student wants to work for a nonprofit, we are able to support that. We have grants available that would allow them to take an unpaid internship and get that experience. There is an emphasis on volunteerism in the community and we have a great network in the healthcare community. But we can always do more to connect with new businesses and more people to bring them into the Cobber family.
What aspects of a Concordia education allow Cobbers to stand out to employers?
Employers know Concordia graduates are going to know their technical area. What they like about our students is that they are so well rounded, they have critical thinking skills, they can problem-solve, they can step up and lead a team, they have good presentation skills, and they can think out of the box.
What Concordia does for all of our students is that it teaches our students the ability to learn. You may not know the answer, but you’re not just going to sit there. Our students take the ball and say, “I may not know it, but I can figure it out.” That well-rounded, go get ’em hard-working attitude is great. Our students bring a lot to the table in that aspect.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Growing up in northern Minnesota, I am an outdoors type of person. I love sports and, unfortunately, I love the Vikings. I love to hunt and I love to fish. We have three yellow labs and we love spending time with them. We recently relocated back to Park Rapids, so I am in Moorhead during the week and going back to our lake home in Park Rapids on the weekend. In our spare time, we golf, spend time on the pontoon, and enjoy pretty much anything outside.