Class of 1991, B.A. in Accounting and Business Administration
Twenty years is a long time – which makes it hard to believe it has been that long since I graduated from Dordt College! Yikes. After graduating from Dordt in 1991 with a degree in Accounting and Business Administration, I went directly to law school at the University of Iowa. While in law school I met my wife, Lydia. We live in Plymouth, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, with our three children. Lydia is also a Dordt graduate, but we didn't connect until we were both students in Iowa City.
My education at Dordt prepared me well for law school and the work world. By about my junior or senior year at Dordt, I thought I'd go on to law school, so I took a writing class or two to help me prepare. I can still recall Dr. Schaap sharing my first paper in one of those writing classes with the class as an example – of how NOT to write! I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and reformed church, and Dordt did not introduce to me for the first time a Biblical world view. But that worldview was reinforced and fed during my education at Dordt.
I sometimes tell people that I have had only one real job (the same one for the last 17 years) – working as an attorney in the Law Department for Cargill in Minneapolis. Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial, and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, it is a privately held company that employs over 130,000 people in more than 60 countries. I am part of a global team of lawyers (that's not necessarily a bad thing!) that provides legal services and counsel to the company.
I have had the opportunity to support a variety of Cargill businesses in a number of different industries – such as juice, chocolate, pork, and peanuts. For six years I worked mainly with the North American real estate business of CarVal Investors, a business begun by Cargill that is a global alternative investment fund manager focused on distressed and credit-intensive assets. Presently I am the lead lawyer for Cargill AgHorizons, which operates a network of grain elevator and crop input facilities in the U.S. that purchases grain from U.S. farmers and delivers agronomic solutions focused on optimizing production. A large organization like Cargill (there are more Cargill employees in the office where I work than in my hometown of Hull, Iowa, where I grew up) provides many opportunities.
Our children are 13, 10, and 5, so we have a busy family life. Lydia and I are very active in our church, Redeemer Reformed Church, which we have been a part of since it began as a mission work in 1998. I enjoy playing and watching most sports when time allows
I have had the privilege over the years to host the Dordt Business Club at Cargill on several occasions, which brings back memories, as I recall coming to Minneapolis as a Dordt student on a business club trip when I was a junior. Each time a group visits I tell them about my history with Cargill, and I always encourage students to develop not just their accounting, HR, computer, or finance acumen (or whatever their particular vocational area of interest or expertise may be), but also their communication skills and ability to work well with people. Learn from those (dreaded?) team projects or group activities you're involved in.
One's lifetime of service to God will undoubtedly include communicating and working with others and serving others – not only in the workplace but in our families, churches, neighborhoods, etc. We should praise God for our gifts and ask Him to help us develop them and give us opportunities to use them to serve Him and others.