Employment: Justin is senior manager of investment accounting at Athene, USA in West Des Moines, Iowa. Amanda is director of planned giving at Orchard Place in Des Moines, Iowa.
Hobbies: Justin – volunteering (Norwalk School Board member; Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation; New Life Lutheran Church), refereeing soccer, member of 100 Norwalk Men on a Mission (an organization of men providing financial contributions to Norwalk area non-profit organizations throughout the year.
Amanda – volunteering (vice president of Norwalk Elementary Parent Teacher Organization; Central College National Advisory Council; Central College Economics, Accounting and Management Council; Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation; New Life Lutheran Church), teaching piano lessons (I teach 15 students each week), scrapbooking and travel.
What we’re reading: We are currently reading The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder as a family. It’s a great way to spend more time together as a family on nights when everyone is home. We plan to visit some of the sites in her books while on our vacations in the coming years.
Memorable college moments/how we met: Justin-my memorable moments include meeting friends I still have today, playing cards, video games, ping pong, bocce ball, participating on the baseball team, rooting on fellow athletes, playing intramurals and meeting my wife. As for how we met, Amanda has spelled out our story, well at least, the materially correct version of the story.
Amanda-memorable moments include being thrown in the pond each year for my birthday in September (except my senior year when I was studying abroad in The Netherlands), taking a Central College van to the away football games with girls on my floor my junior year when I was their RA, playing in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, trips to Chicago and Mexico, Dutch dancing with Justin at Tulip Time, late night study sessions with Justin and friends in the Weller Center, Sunday afternoon studying at Red Rock and my semester studying in The Netherlands (I’m still in contact with my host family).
How we met: Justin and I both lived in Gaass my junior year and his freshman year. We knew each other but had never really talked until we were paired together in our communication class by Professor Sean Gilmore to give a presentation “Work and Family Conflict” on how married adults deal with careers and family at the same time. In the evenings while working on our presentation, Justin dictated to me (as I was typing on my computer) how to write an outline. I remember thinking, “Who is this guy, and does he not realize I am a Junior and writing outlines correctly is something I excel in?” Our presentation was the week after the Super Bowl. On Super Bowl Sunday, I became sicker than I think I have ever been. Justin heard I was sick asked a friend to come and get all the things for our presentation, so he could finish it. Until we started dating and I learned what a HUGE sports fan he is, it didn’t occur to me what a big deal it was that he put the Super Bowl aside to worry about me and finish our project that day! We gave our presentation that next week and got an A. During this time, I invited Justin and his friend Jason to join a friend and I for a game of Sequence in my room. This turned into nightly games of Sequence.
On March 9, 1999, Justin and Jason came for our regular game night. Jason always brought the chips and salsa. That night Jason left without his chip clip. As I was shutting my door, I noticed Justin was standing there, and when I went to give him the clip to return to Jason, he held my hand and I kissed him. His version is that I just plain out kissed him, but I’m sticking to my version.
We started dating that night and have been together ever since. We got married April 17, 2004. We are putting the knowledge from our “Work and Family Conflict” presentation to good use now that we manage a household with two careers, volunteer work and three busy kids!
Our life after Central College: After graduation, I moved to Des Moines and began working as the director of development for Wesley Retirement Services. I lived with one of my best friends, Amy Houston Miller ’99 in West Des Moines. A year later, I was asked to move to Newton to become Director of Willowbrook Adult Day Services. Justin finished up his two years at Central and got a job in Des Moines working at Investors Management Group. We got engaged on Memorial Day weekend in 2003 and decided to make our home in Des Moines. Since our marriage in 2004, I have worked at Mercy Medical Center, Hope Ministries, Everybody Wins! Iowa and I’m now at Orchard Place. Justin has worked at EMS Insurance and now Athene.
We had our son, Grant, in June of 2006 and twins, Nolan and Karlin in 2010. We just completed our second custom-built home in Norwalk in 2016. We love our community and are very involved here. Justin is in his second term on the Norwalk School Board and I am serving in my sixth year on the Norwalk PTO Board of Directors. Our kids are at very busy ages, so we spend our time doing things they enjoy. Grant is on a U12 select soccer team with the West Des Moines Soccer Club, plays the trumpet in band, golfs, is in choir, youth group at church and 4-H. Nolan plays soccer, baseball, basketball, golfs and plays the piano. Karlin is on the competition dance team at our local dance studio, plays the piano and plays soccer. We love supporting them in their various activities and have met many good friends along the way.
Two years ago, I came up with the idea that I wanted all five of us to go to all 50 states together before Grant graduates from high school. My hashtag is #50statesbeforeGrantgraduates. We only have 6 years left to accomplish this, but after our 15-day trip this summer, we were able to cross Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio off our list!
We have already begun planning the “go to Central College” bug in our kid’s ears. Grant even attending a camp on campus last summer and loved it! We are hoping they each get to have the Central College experience.