be_ixf;ym_202407 d_21; ct_50

Alumni Spotlight: Phil Appenzeller Jr.

Graduation Year: 1988

Major: Government and Public Administration

Current Position: CEO of Munsch Hardt Kopf and Harr

City and State: Dallas, Texas

Tell us about your career and what you do now.

After graduating Evangel in 1988, my wife (who I met while at Evangel) served as youth pastors for a year. I was accepted to UMKC School of law, where I served as Administrative Editor of the Law Review. I graduated from there in 1992. I started my legal career at one of K.C.s largest law firms at the time. I worked there for 2 years, then I joined the U.S. Army Jag Corp. We were stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia, where I served primarily as a prosecutor and taught in the Infantry School. In 1996, we moved to Dallas, where I started practicing at the commercial litigation firm of McKool Smith. I joined my current firm, Munsch Hardt in 2000 as a commercial litigator with a specialty in bankruptcy litigation. Munsch Hardt is a Texas based full commercial law firm with 170 attorneys in Dallas, Houston and Austin. In 2007, I was selected to lead the Litigation Group of the firm and in 2012 served as the firm’s Chief Operating Officer. In 2014, I was elected at the firm’s CEO where I have served ever since.

What is your favorite memory from Evangel?

Meeting my wife at a Freshman mixer in Scott Hall basement at the start of the second semester of our Freshman year. I went back and told my buddies, I am going to date that girl someday. We became good friends and during our Junior year started dating. We have been together ever since and are still best friends.

How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?

It was the start of my Junior year and I was thinking perhaps changing to an education major and abandon the thought of practicing law. I was back on campus early to help set up for incoming Freshman. I was walking down the long hall that went by the social science department and ran into Dr. Alex Karmarkovic who was my Government Public Admin. Professor. He stopped, looked at me and said “God put you on my heart this Summer and told me to tell you do not change course.” That changed my life.

How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?

There are three aspects that Evangel prepared me for that might be somewhat different than others. First, academically, I was very prepared for law school and actually far ahead of most of my peers. Second, the moral and ethical principles that Evangel instill in me remain today. Finally, Evangel taught be the concept of treating everyone with respect.

What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?

Nothing can take advantage over a hard work ethic. The Bible is clear, we deserve nothing, so don’t expect success to be handed to you. You must work for it.

What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?

What else did you do at Evangel to broaden your horizons? Did you volunteer, take on leadership roles, mentor younger students? Show something besides just a degree and a GPA.