Adam Gregg ’06 spent much of his Central football career on the sidelines but he will never forget that day—the day in which he blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown as the Dutch stunned Iowa Conference favorite Wartburg College 37-20 at Waverly.
“My favorite memory from Central,” he says with a laugh, “was blocking a punt that was picked up by another player (Colby Myers ’07) and returned for a touchdown. I definitely wasn’t the best player on the team, but I really enjoyed the camaraderie, getting to know the guys and having that sense of purpose.”
Since then, Gregg has had a lot of good days. As a policy advisor to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Gregg handles issues related to numerous state departments, including the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Iowa Workforce Development, Iowa Finance Authority, Iowa Utilities Board and the Iowa Communications Network. However, his primary role is serving as the governor’s legislative liaison which means Gregg is the governor’s face in the Iowa Legislature, and he is responsible for advocating for the governor’s agenda.
Gregg has to be a people person. Getting to know all the legislators—from both parties—and fostering relationships with all of them is important to the job. During the legislative session, he meets with the governor nearly every day and then heads to the floor of the Senate and the House to log face time with legislators.
“I have near constant interaction with legislators of both chambers and both parties,” Gregg explains. “And so, oftentimes, they will want to express their priorities and make sure that the governor hears about them. I am the person that is walking around on the floor that is able to deliver that message.”
Gregg has been preparing for years for this position—while at Central, he was a political science and history major, he studied abroad in London and worked for a Member of Parliament, then took part in the Washington Center program in D.C. where he worked at the Department of Defense. Gregg later interned for a congressman on Capitol Hill during the summer. Without Central and people like Jim Zaffiro, professor of political science, Michael Schrier, professor of history, Cheri Doane, director of community-based learning and David Roe, former Central president, Gregg says he wouldn’t be where he is today.
“There were a lot of people who advocated for me at certain points in my career,” he says. “Jim, Mike, Cheri and David opened a lot of doors for me. At a small school, that’s what you can get—a personal connection. How many people can say that the president of a college knows their name, let alone getting to know them personally?”
Before working at the capitol, Gregg was employed for a prestigious law firm in Des Moines where he represented 25 clients in the halls of the state capitol. His current position is familiar, but this time he has just one client—the governor. Gregg loves getting up every day and making a difference by working with the governor and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. No matter the long hours, he is excited to influence the political climate.
“It is a very demanding job, a lot of long hours, and they aren’t always the easiest hours because we are in a political environment,” Gregg says. “Everyone has different priorities and I am tasked with being on the front line of that—it puts me in a position of advocating all day, every day. That can be exhausting, but what keeps me going is that I know I am influencing the process. I know that I am making a difference.”
During the 2013 legislative session, Gregg says the governor’s top two priorities were enacted—the largest tax cut in Iowa history and transformational education reform. A compromise was also reached on reform of the Medicaid program. Branstad called the 2013 session his most successful of his last five years as governor.
“I’m extremely proud to have been a part of such a successful legislative session,” says Gregg. “Leaders from all sides deserve credit for coming together and reaching a compromise and it was such an honor to have played a role in the process.”
Although Gregg devotes much of his time at the Capitol, he finds a way to balance his personal and professional life. He spends his time with his wife, Cari Rehder Gregg ’07 and their children Jackson, 2, and Lauren, five months. He also enjoys reading presidential biographies as well as cheering on the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bears and the Central football team.
He knows the value of an education, particularly a Central education. And now that Gregg sits at a desk at the Iowa State Capitol, he has a few words of wisdom to pass down to the next generation of Central students.
“Central provides a lot of opportunities—I would encourage students to take advantage of them,” he says. “They should take advantage of the great professors there that can open doors for them. I would encourage them to use college not only as an opportunity to make friends and make lasting memories, but also to gain experience for their future career.”