Jeff Hedrick (’09): Advertising agency account executive
January 31, 2012
Like hundreds of thousands of high school students in the United States, Jeff Hedrick grew up in a small town and values the closeness of community. When it came time to start looking for a college, he wanted to find a campus that was small enough to have that same feeling – but also large enough to offer a high-caliber football program where he would have the opportunity to continue the athletic success he had experienced on the field in high school.
He was also looking for a positive, Christian environment where the values he had been taught at home would be nurtured and he could continue to grow in his faith. “While I grew up in a Christian household, I was just coming to find who I was in Christ,” he says. “Your college years are the time when you are truly defining who you are going to be.”
Hedrick found everything he was looking for at Evangel University.
“College is a big decision,” says Hedrick, a 2009 Evangel graduate who majored in Advertising/Public Relations. “Evangel specifically is a fantastic university. Great education, beautiful campus and fantastic like-minded people. There are lots of opportunities for students to get plugged in locally and around the world through missions.”
Hedrick found many of those opportunities through the football program. He played middle linebacker, was a three-year letterman and NAIA Academic All-American. He also had the chance to travel with the football team on a service trip to Kyrgyzstan in 2008. “It was on the football field where I made some of my best friends,” says Hedrick. “These were the men who stood with me at my wedding.”
While incredible things were happening on the football field for Hedrick, he was also having life-changing moments in the classroom. “Evangel provided invaluable learning that can’t be replaced,” he says. “Independence, responsibility, teamwork and focus were all developed during my time at Evangel. My advisors and professors demonstrated great care and were committed to helping me succeed. Mrs. Nancy Pace-Miller played a big part in advising me and building contacts for me down the road.”
One specific classroom encounter proved particularly life changing. During the fall of his junior year he was taking a Promotions Management class taught by Paul K. Logsdon, Evangel’s director of Public Relations. Tom Kujawa, the vice president of a local advertising agency, Marlin Co., who was also an alumnus of Evangel, was a guest speaker that day.
Hedrick happened to arrive to class early and ended up in a conversation between Logsdon and Kujawa about the Evangel football team. “During class I identified Marlin as a company worth pursuing,” says Hedrick.
“I could tell that the work and the culture matched with my personality. After class I obtained Kujawa’s contact information and followed up with him. We exchanged a few emails around the potential of an internship during my senior year. He was resistant to having interns for the most part. I took the next few weeks to assemble a direct mail piece to him and the agency that highlighted my skills, knowledge of Marlin and the advertising industry. Shortly after I received a phone call with an invitation to come in to the Marlin office and discuss the internship further. I interned during my senior year at Evangel and was hired immediately upon graduation. This taught me a lot about persistence. Know what you want and go after it.”
These are the kinds of connections that happen every day at Evangel University. For Hedrick, like many students, the connections he made at Evangel have transferred into his post-college life.
Today, Hedrick is still working at Marlin. His internship morphed into a full-time job offer after his graduation from Evangel in 2009. He is now an account executive and digital/social media specialist whose clients have included Starbucks, Bush’s Best, Blue Bunny, Convoy of Hope and Tyson Foods.
In addition to athletic, career and faith connections, there is one more important connection that Hedrick took with him from Evangel: his wife Angelina (Rosolino ’09) Hedrick. Angelina was a secondary and middle school math education major who also played on the volleyball team. They married shortly after their graduation from Evangel. She is a high school math teacher and volleyball coach at Strafford High School in Strafford, Missouri.
Jeff and Angelina enjoy traveling and exploring the outdoors through weekend adventures and road trips. Together they have voyaged to dozens of national and state parks across 36 states.