Higher education is an enterprise that is fond of acronyms. FASFA, MBA, NCAA, and DOE all come to mind. As do ODK, HQ, and ED (Executive Director – my title).
My current favorite letters in the alphabet soup at ODK’s national headquarters (HQ) are AED and CPA. We are delighted to welcome Brent Anderson to our organization as the new Associate Executive Director (AED) for Business Operations.
When we started looking for the next AED (and the person to succeed the long-serving and devoted Ken Taylor), we intentionally went searching for a multi-talented individual. Someone who could not only work closely with the national officers and campuses on membership services, extension, and outreach, but also a person who could help manage the business operations of our organization. As I have been known to say, we are a small nonprofit and need to follow the best business practices in order to make the greatest use of our resources.
When the position was posted, it specifically indicated that we were looking for someone who had CPA experience. Not only did we find someone who had earned that credential, but we discovered that he has other talents along the way.
Last week, Brent Anderson joined ODK as our new AED. He earned both his undergraduate and master’s degrees in accountancy at BYU and he earned membership in Phi Theta Kappa when he was enrolled at Dixie College in his hometown of St. George, Utah. Most recently, Brent was the director of finance for the Virginia Horse Center Foundation, a nonprofit corporation in Lexington, Va. Previously, at Southern Virginia University, Brent managed the operations of the business office. Additionally, he has served on the board of directors of the Delta-Montrose Electric Cooperative and as president of the Hotchkiss Chamber of Commerce in Colorado.
We knew that Brent had great business “chops,” but our great delight has been in discovering that he truly is multi-talented. For starters, we have come to know that he is the devoted husband of Brooke (an educator), father of four (he describes his two sons and two daughters as two credits, two debits), and grandfather of 1.7 grandkids (the second one is due to arrive in October). He is active in his church as well as in the community of Buena Vista where he and Brooke reside. We also know that he has a vegetable garden and that Farmer Brent grows some really great spaghetti squash.
However, we have also been surprised about discovering his other talents that were not explored in his interview conversations. First, he speaks fluent Japanese (he lived in Japan for two years), and when we expand internationally and establish a Circle at the University of Tokyo, Brent’s our guy! Second, he is a master at balloon animals – something we discovered during the summer board dinner at the home of President Mike Christakis in Albany. While he was supposedly entertaining Mike’s two beautiful, young daughters, I think it was the board and staff that most enjoyed Brent’s creations.
Brent said the other day, “I am excited for this opportunity at ODK to be a part of building the growing foundation for the next 100 years.”
We are excited to have him be a part of our present and our future. Please join me in welcoming him. Brent may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if asked, I bet he’ll make you a balloon animal (the animal in the photo was one he made for Andrew Cahoon’s birthday last week). Guaranteed to put a smile on your face!