Class of 1976, B.A. Business Administration/Accounting
Henry De Groot was the face of the Business Department in the mid '70s. His contributions to Dordt College, the business department, and to my career are many.
After graduating from Dordt College, I was one of 12 recruits to start at KPMG in Omaha, Nebraska. The rest of the incoming recruits came from big name schools and programs. Having grown up on a small family farm in rural northwest Iowa, and having gone to a small college with a name that my colleagues at KPMG didn't even know how to pronounce, I was intimidated to say the least. But I was one of the first to pass the CPA exam and was promoted with or ahead of my peers, so that dispelled any concerns I might have had about the comparative quality of my education. I give credit to this day to those professors who knew me and took a sincere interest in me, encouraging me to use my God-given skills and talents.
In 1982 we moved to Brookfield, Wisconsin, where I served as the audit manager in the credit finance division of a large international agricultural equipment company. After that, I had the opportunity to work at a startup company funded by venture capital that ultimately was unsuccessful. Through these experiences, my interests developed in the area of entrepreneurship and small business. In 1987, I began with R&M Distributing, a medical device/orthopedic distribution company, and I have been in that industry with the same company ever since, serving in roles such as Business Manager, CFO, and consultant. The opportunities to work with many orthopedic medical device companies in a rapidly growing and technology-oriented industry have kept things challenging and stimulating. The exposure to venture-funded and angel investing medical device startups has also been exciting.
While my professional career developed, I also worked with the family small egg production business. Over the years, the business has grown and brought in additional partners, continuing to expand. Little did I realize that this experience would lead me to do development work in Africa. Partners Worldwide, an organization that I have been a part of for almost 10 years, was looking for someone with an egg production background to work with entrepreneurs in Mozambique, Africa. I made my first trip in 2006 and subsequent trips in 2009 and 2010. Currently we are establishing a corn, soybean, and grain trading operation with over 100 employees about 150 miles west of Nampula, Mozambique. About 15 miles west of Nampula, a hatchery, breeder, feed mill, abattoir, and broiler production operation has been developed that employs many small scale farm families in production and buys grain from an estimated 30,000+ small scale farmers. The rights to land to begin an egg production operation are currently being finalized. In addition, academic and vocational schools are in the works. My hope is that Dordt College can be engaged as we work towards social, economic, and spiritual transformation in that area.
The overall point of this brief biography is that none of us knows the plans that God has for us, and a broad-based liberal arts education with caring professors provides the best overall education. Abraham Kuyper said that every square inch of this world belongs to our God. We are to use our talents and interest according to what He has given us. Little did I know that my skills and interests would be used in such a way.
My wife Kathy also attended Dordt. Our 2 sons and daughters-in-law graduated from Dordt as well, so Dordt College has been an integral part of our lives in many ways. We have lived in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for almost 30 years and have been very active at Brookfield CRC in many different roles.
We get back to Sioux Center frequently since we still have family in the area. I am continually amazed as the campus, facilities and programs have continued to expand. On behalf of our family, I can vouch for the quality of education provided by Dordt College, and the facilities are of top quality. Over the years, we have recommended a Dordt College education to many people, and as I look back, I am grateful for the education that I received.