– Delta Beta Xi Award from Alpha Sigma Phi National Fraternity for alumni service to the organization
– Media Community Service Award from Molina Healthcare for dedicated service to organizations in central Ohio
– Graduated from Franklin University in 2008 with a Master of Science in Marketing.
– I have ridden in Pelotonia for 6 years and raised over $15,000 for cancer research.
- What made you choose to pursue a college education at Rio Grande? I grew up in Northwest Ohio and had never heard of or been to Rio Grande until the spring of my senior year in high school. We stopped in Rio to check out the campus on the way to Myrtle Beach and toured the campus. At that time, Peg Thomas was on campus and in her own personal way that we all love, sold me on the advantages of going to a small school away from home. Probably one of the best decisions I ever made.
- How were you involved on Rio’s campus? I was a brother of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity. I also played intramural flag football and softball, and worked at the Bob Evans Farm Festival. As an alum, I was an advisor for the fraternity and currently serve on the Alumni Association Board for Alpha Sigma Phi.
- What did Rio offer you besides an education? Great friends who I consider family. To this day, I see Rio folks in Columbus on a weekly basis. This includes fraternity brothers and other alumni/alumnae.
- What are some of your favorite Rio memories? I have a lot of memories of Rio. Some of the best are those spent with the close friends I met. I think the greatest memory is walking across that stage at graduation and receiving my Associates and Bachelor degree after many set backs and a lot of hard work.
- Was there any teacher, advisor, coach, etc. that made an impact on your life? How? Dr. Larry Spees has been my mentor for many years, and is still a close friend. He was our fraternity advisor, taught many of us in the classroom, and a great friend to many. Dr. Spees was always available during good times and bad to help guide me to make correct decisions and think before acting on an impulse. To this day, I see Larry a few times a year and have dinner with he and Bev.
- What did you learn about yourself during college? College, for me, was a series of very high-highs, and very low-lows. The biggest take-away was to never give up on your dreams and make sure to hit those speed bumps hard so they launch you into the air to better opportunities. I also learned to be humble and appreciate those around you as they are there to help you succeed.
- Tell us about life after Rio. Life after Rio has been great. I have had a great career and spend as much time as possible with my family and friends. I have taken many vacations with Rio friends and currently host an annual golf outing in memory of Rio Alum Chris Mickley, who passed in 2014. We raise money for various groups including the Rio golf team in 2018 and the track team for next year’s outing. I am actively involved in the community volunteering at Honor Flight Columbus, Canine Companions for Independence, and Wreaths Across America. In 2011 and 2012, I created Honor Ride Ohio and rode my bike with some Veteran friends across Ohio to raise funds for various Veteran’s organizations. Retired Colonel Matt Leach, also a Rio grad, joined us in 2012.
- How did Rio prepare you for your career? Rio was a learning experience both in and out of the classroom. I arrived at campus somewhat of a quiet kid, and by the time I left, had broken out of a shell that allows me to speak to large groups, get involved in the community, and try to be the best person I may be. I learned about adversity, even though I didn’t always react in the proper way, but utilized life events to better myself and give back. Rio is also the first place that I learned about charity and community involvement whether it was cleaning up along state route 35 or raiding funds for Rio Elementary.
- Why are you proud to be a Rio Alumna/Alumnus? Folks that I know from outside of Rio are always amazed by the number of friends I keep in touch with from my college days. They cannot believe how many of us still talk, go to family events, and get together on a regular basis. Rio taught me the power of friendship and how it really blossoms into family. My Rio family is big and a huge piece of my life.
Do you have any advice for current students? Don’t take life too seriously and enjoy every moment as we are all on borrowed time. Work hard, but make sure family and friends come first, jobs will always be there, but those you love may not. One of my favorite quotes is from the movie Back to School. Thorton Melon (Rodney Dangerfield) was giving the graduation speech and in his closing remarks said “the real world is tough, be sure to watch out for number one without stepping in number two.” I keep that line in my head when dealing with real world scenarios.