Hometown: Conneaut, Ohio
B.S., Kentucky Wesleyan College, 1984, Political Science and Sociology
M.S., Indiana State University, 1985, Urban and Regional Planning
Director of Procurement and Contracts at Kenergy, an electric distribution cooperative serving 14 western Kentucky counties
Family: Wife, Brenda; children, Jeremy and Lesley; grandchildren, Lennon, Jarrek, Aven and Grayson
“My Kentucky Wesleyan experience was very special. It provided the foundation for my life and career, and the College is a part of my DNA. I can’t imagine what kind of person I would have been had I not attended Wesleyan.
I had planned to stay in Ohio but was awarded an academic scholarship to Wesleyan. Dad had died a few years before, and there were two more children at home, so the scholarship made the decision easy. Besides, when we visited Wesleyan, I loved the campus and the city.
It is always appropriate to give back, and I want to invest in the lives of young people so they have the same quality experience I did.”
What made your Kentucky Wesleyan experience special?
“The people – and there were so many who contributed to my experience.
Dr. Lee Dew, a political science professor, was my advisor. He provoked thought, and he taught the practical application of political science.
His wife, Professor Aloma Dew, taught history, and she brought the pages of the textbooks to life.
I gained a passion for sociology through the teaching of Professor Margaret Britton, and I began to see a heck of a connection between political science and sociology in her classroom.
Her husband, Professor Joe Britton, taught freshman English very creatively. It was more like creative writing. For example, we would walk into the classroom, and there would be one word or sentence on the blackboard. We were then instructed to write about that word. Or he would tell us to just start writing – about anything – and then we had to share what we had written with the class and critique one another. I learned how to communicate effectively, and I have such fond memories of his classes. My first job was at the Green River Development District (GRADD), where a significant portion of my responsibilities were grant writing. Professor Britton’s training prepared me well for that job.
Dean of Students Wilfred Gorrell and his wife lived on campus. They were sweet people, and he had a very effective way of making it clear you were in trouble without being heavy-handed. His approach made an impression on me.
Dr. Bob Cockrum was the faculty adviser to Sigma Phi Epsilon, and his son, Robert, was my big brother in the fraternity. Dr. Cockrum had a wonderful sense of humor, and I enjoyed him very much. I have long appreciated my connection to both of them.
Dr. Mike Fagan, a psychology professor, was an even-keeled kind of guy who always had an oar in the water. His attitude meant a lot to me. He later helped our son when he attended Wesleyan.
Dr. Emil Ahnell taught music appreciation, and Professor Bill Kolok taught art appreciation. They both broadened my thinking, and they were excellent teachers.
I took a New Testament class under Dr. Ed Beavin. He was fascinating. We studied the threads of similarity, along with differences, in the four gospels. I’ll never forget it.
Dr. Dan Bradshaw was awesome in a class on U.S. history. He was tough, and he made me think.
I’ve named quite a few, but I could name many more. I flourished in the small community atmosphere at Wesleyan. I had experiences here that I would never have had in a large university.”
What was the value of a liberal arts education?
“I was exposed to many ways of thinking, and I was encouraged to think for myself. I believe I became a more well-rounded and well-prepared person through my Wesleyan education.
In 2016, I ran for Mayor of Owensboro. Although I did not win, there is no doubt that Wesleyan provided the foundation for being qualified to run for that office.”
Tell us about your career.
“I got the job at GRADD after completing graduate school in 1985. In addition to grant writing and economic development responsibilities, I worked with many State and Federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). I began at Green River Electric, which is now Kenergy, in 1998. I procure goods and services, write and review contracts and oversee the fleet. I am also the FEMA coordinator when there is a disaster in one of our areas. We provide electricity to approximately 56,000 homes and businesses with more than 7,000 miles of power line.”
What does Wesleyan mean to you today?
“I am proud that Wesleyan is a vital part of Owensboro and contributes significantly to the economic development of our region. The spirit of the College is vibrant today and includes significant outreach to the community. I am very pleased about that.
On a personal level, the College has been a part of me since the day I arrived on campus as a freshman, and it is still a part of me today. Wesleyan prepared me for life. This College changes people.”