EU Alumni Perspective: Kent Greve
Name: Kent Greve
Graduation Year: 1995
Current Position: General Manager
City and State: Springfield, Missouri
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
I started working for Star Wholesale Supply right after I graduated from Evangel in June 1995. Star was a new company, just getting started in the Springfield market. Tarah and I were getting married, and honestly, I just needed a job! I really didn’t know what I was getting into. As a young company with only 3 people, I had the opportunity to do everything related to starting a business from the ground up.
Eventually, I settled into sales and enjoyed that position for many years. Currently, I serve as our Springfield, Missouri branch General Manager and have been with Star Wholesale for 27 years. We specialize in supplying pipe, valves, fittings, plumbing items, pumps, water heaters, boilers, and fire protection related items.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
Meeting my wife, Tarah (Ingold) is my favorite memory from Evangel, of course! I also value the incredible friendships I made, especially with The Brethren from Krause. I have great memories of competing with other floors in intramurals one moment and cleaning out a pizza buffet the next. We spent Spring Breaks together, weekend trips to each other’s homes, spur of the moment fishing trips, and spontaneous road trips to watch our friends compete with the Evangel basketball team. We still talk about those experiences and memories.
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
Essential Christianity my freshman year helped me envision living out my faith through whatever vocation I chose. Many of us were not going into full time ministry, so it was very helpful to study with students pursuing many different degrees with the understanding that God was calling each of us to a life and vocation that honored Him and drew others to Him. Studying in the business department under professors like Dr. Wubbena, Tony Rybarczyk, Kert Parsley, and Richard Hammer gave me a glimpse of the marketplace. Their real-life experiences showed me what faith lived out in the business world could look like.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
I really appreciated the project-based classes, where we worked with area small businesses and helped them create business plans and marketing strategies. They taught me how to think for myself, problem solve, and be more creative. The opportunity to do an internship at an advertising company my senior year also really opened my eyes to the future.
Beyond academics, living life with friends from all over the country, getting along with others, and working out our differences were great experience for life after Evangel.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
First of all, enjoy the Evangel experience. It is unique. Get involved in the things you enjoy and use chapel services, classes, clubs, and extracurricular activities to help you determine what vocation you might want to pursue. Grow in your faith, build friendships, and learn how to listen.
As a manager and interviewer, I can say that people skills and self-awareness are crucial in any job situation. There is always an opportunity for someone who is kind, humble, honest, and knows how to communicate and gets along well with others. Add a well-rounded education, and you should be very appealing to prospective employers. I would also suggest keeping an open mind to working in industries that you may not even know exist.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
I would look for a candidate that has work experience, even if it was a first job or a summer job – and kept it for a while, showing perseverance. Academic excellence shows that the individual is disciplined and willing to work hard and learn. I also look for people that I can have a conversation with that are not only intelligent, but also possess a high level of common sense. I’m impressed by a candidate that asks good questions, has done research, and shows interest in our company. When hiring, I look for individuals that have integrity and demonstrate a solid work ethic that are willing to commit and grow in our organization personally and professionally.