Andrea (Galer) (’06) and Jared Stevens (’08): Ozark, Missouri, CrossFit gym owners
December 1, 2011
Evangel graduates Jared and Andrea Stevens recently opened a CrossFit gym in Ozark, Missouri. Jared graduated in 2008 with a degree in physical education, and Andrea graduated in 2006 with a degree in marketing and management.
While at Evangel, Andrea ran track and Jared played football. “We both love fitness and are committed to being healthy,” she said. “We are excited for the opportunity to own a business that promotes healthy living.”
According to Jared, “My main reason for going to Evangel was to play football, but within the first year and under the direction of Jon Spence and other great influences, I understood my degree and the relationships I would build were much more important than football,” he said.
While playing football at Evangel, Jared was a nationally ranked receiver and kick returner. He served as a student strength and conditioning assistant for three years.
“I designed a lot of the workouts for our team and individual players to prepare for the season,” explained Jared. “I constantly researched new methods of training and soaked up every bit of knowledge I could from experts around me.”
Charlie Getty, assistant professor of exercise science at Evangel, was one of those experts. He was an All-American at Penn State, then played offensive lineman nine years for the Kansas City Chiefs and one year for the Green Bay Packers.
“Not only did Coach Getty challenge me as a worker, but also as a person and as a Christian,” Jared said.
Life after football
After graduating from Evangel, Jared played football professionally in Germany and led the team to a national championship. In 2010, he played for a football team in Nice, France.
When his football career came to an end, he continued writing and designing workouts for athletes and became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He worked at a sports performance facility and trained high school, collegiate and professional athletes but desired to open his own gym.
“I continued training hard myself, but I no longer had football to train for,” explained Jared. “That’s when I heard about CrossFit.”
According to its website, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program used by many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide. It combines weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, powerlifting, rowing and other training techniques to deliver a fitness that is broad, general and inclusive.
Jared is now a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. “At CrossFit 417, we want to create a passion for health and fitness in the Ozarks. We want to develop area athletes who will go on to succeed in college, professionally and in life,” he said. “We want to make our community better.”
“I think it’s wonderful that Jared is opening a gym,” said Coach Getty. “This guy is doing exactly what he should be doing. He is a wonderful trainer — extremely passionate and knowledgeable, and I really respect him.”
EU experience changes Andrea’s life
As a new business owner, Andrea is especially grateful for her marketing and management degree.
“I decided to major in business because of professor Bernie Dana,” Andrea said. “He has been a great influence in my life. The experience I gained from the business department has helped me tremendously, both as an accountant and as a business owner. I got a well-rounded education at Evangel, and the professors remain great mentors to me today.”
After graduation she worked as an admissions counselor at Evangel from May 2006 to January 2010. In 2011 she earned a Master of Accountancy degree from Missouri State University, passed the CPA exam and is in the process of obtaining her certification.
Evangel was Andrea’s college of choice because of the Lord’s leading. “I am from Michigan and came down to visit during my senior year of high school. While on campus, I knew it was the place God had for me,” she said. “Evangel was far from home, but it challenged me spiritually. I was alone and was forced to rely on the Lord to provide for me.”
Andrea is grateful that she followed the Lord’s calling on her life. “He always knows best,” she said. “I met my husband at Evangel — he’s from Idaho, so I know we would not have met otherwise.”