Cheryl Hughey Promotions: Ralph Pfremmer of Pfoodman to Open Speaker Series for School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Lindenwood University
The new Lindenwood School of Business and Entrepreneurship has a special place in my heart. Yesterday I drove good friend and partner in crime, Paul "Grandmaster Geezer" Krewet, of Geezerbuilt Rustic Furniture, around the Lindenwood campus and started to tell stories of the way things were then (the early 90's) and what they are like now with over 250 million Dollars in new buildings. I showed him Sibley Hall, the first building, now on the National Historic Register, where the entire school once resided, back when Mary Sibley opened it as a finishing school for young women in 1827. "Then" is subjective to whomever has experienced the campus during its more than 175 years of existence at any particular time. I am greatful to have experienced a vignet of her history and played a part in the re-invention with many others believing in a dream.
My experience with Lindenwood started with Dennis Spellmann, President of Lindenwood College in 1993, when I first interviewed for the cafeteria manager position through a management company specializing in dining service programs for higher education. Lindenwood would soon be renamed as a university, somewhere around 1996, the first indication that big things would happen.
I had been in the bar, restaurant and private club business for 15 years prior landing across the desk of the former marine and consultant for higher education. When Dennis came to Lindenwood in the late 80's, it was his job to figure out what to do with the campus. It was a family business. He, his wife Sue, his daughter and son-in-law, the Guffey's, they rolled their sleeves up and dove right in. He collected a team of folks who responded to his style of management. And he was one tough dude. Everybody had a role. My part was to get the hospitality right, project and image of the campus from that regard. That is what I did and that is what I still do. I am still part of the team, and back then part of what would become my Lindenwood family--what all of us call ourselves, those who believe in the mission.
It was rumored that one option was to sell it to UMSL for a dollar back when things were in decline. Another option was for the board to allow Dennis to give it a shot, try to re-invent and take back the direction of the historic institution. He and then Chairman of the Board, Ray Harmon, carved out a mission and vision to save the school, using the heritage and story telling of the campus roots, embarking on what would be one of the most remarkable turn-around entrepreneurial stories of our time.
I look forward to sharing my story, and my experience at Lindenwood--the inspiration from the administration and staff, the spirit of the community of St. Charles and the St. Louis area, embracing my method of emergence and quest to develop my own brand distinction. I owe most of what I do to my experience at Lindenwood and the many people there, board members, fellow employees, faculty. My education came in the form of Lindenwood academics and practicum now applied throughout our business.