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Boyce's Beat: The MIAA Path of Alex Langer and McCownGordon

March 04, 2019
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As seen from the MIAA, by David Boyce. 

Each week, the MIAA’s featured writer David Boyce covers an intriguing story in the conference for a series called Boyce’s Beat: Featured Stories of the MIAA. 

In this edition, Boyce profiles former Central Missouri student-athlete and his path to a job at McCownGordon. Boyce also talks about the unique relationship and sponsorship that McCownGordon and the association have. 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - In order to put on a high-quality event like the upcoming MIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament, it takes sponsors willing to contribute not only financial support but also bring their passion to it.

McCownGordon, a 20-year-old Kansas City-based construction company, who entered into a corporate partnership with the MIAA in 2018. Even before they signed on last year, the company already had a beneficial relationship with the MIAA that went well beyond sports. They offered internships and jobs to some of the brightest engineering students at MIAA schools.

“The MIAA we felt is the best Division II conference in the country,” said Brian Morris, director of project development for higher education and sports. “It aligned well with our values as a company in supporting the student-athletes at those schools. It really intrigued us."

“Also, the geographical footprint, we support so many schools in our area. Through sponsorship of a conference, we are able to make a difference on a bigger stage. We were able to have great interaction with university presidents, athletic directors and talk about McCownGordon and what we stand for as a company.”

Perhaps the best way to tell the story of the relationship between the MIAA and McCownGordon is through the eyes of Alex Langer, a former placekicker at the University of Central Missouri.

After his sophomore year as a placekicker at Wyoming, Langer wanted to find a school that had a construction management program and was closer to Des Moines where he grew up.

His research took him to a school he previously had never heard of, the University of Central Missouri.
Being a competitor, Langer, not only landed a spot on the team but in his first game for the Mules, he made all three of his field goal attempts and helped Central Missouri beat Pittsburg State 28-23.

But something far more important happened to Langer before he ever kicked for Central Missouri. Coming off his sophomore year, he met Emily Brown, director of talent development at McCownGordon.

Brown, a graduate of Pittsburg State, visits college campuses throughout the Midwest, searching for the brightest engineers for McCownGordon. Her stops take her to many of the MIAA campuses.

When Langer first sought an internship at McCownGordon, he was turned down because of a lack of experience. But he made an impression with Brown.

“He was at the top of our list,” Brown said.

Last summer, Langer was an intern at McCownGordon, which is not an easy feat. For example, last fall, McCownGordon interviewed 270 students for 28 internship spots.

“I knew from day one this is the place I wanted to work for,” said Langer, who became a full-time employee at McCownGordon on January 7. “It is the people here. Through the whole interviewing process, you learn the three core values of integrity, relationships and performance.

“You can clearly tell the people here take pride in applying those values not only in the relationships with our clients but you can see it the final product we deliver.”

Langer’s story is not unique when it comes to the MIAA and McCownGordon. Of the 326 employees at the Kansas City office, 44 in Wichita and 14 in Manhattan, 48 are from MIAA schools.

And some are student-athletes.  Fort Hays State wrestler Micquille Robinson, who is still competing, did an internship last summer at McCownGordon.

“I am not surprised with the amount of recruiting they do,” Langer said of the number of former MIAA students at McCownGordon. “It is easy to see why this would be an attractive company to work for.”

McCownGordon is a young and growing company that works on construction projects throughout the Midwest in all areas, from civic to corporate, K-12 education, higher education, cultural centers and health care. One of their featured projects is the KU Medical Center Health Education Building.

Some of the sports facilities they constructed are the Gladstone Community Center, the Grandview Community Center and the Dodge City & Ford County Regional Aquatic Facility. To learn more about McCownGordon go to www.mccowngordon.com.

“It makes sense for our partnership with the MIAA,” said Samantha Hughes, senior marketing coordinator at McCownGordon.

One of the reasons the MIAA continues to be one of the top Division II conferences in the country is because of the universities willingness to continue to grow with building projects that help students and student-athletes reach their full potential in whatever they pursue.

“We look to continue to strengthen our relationship with the MIAA,” Morris said. “To be able to be part of that progress is exciting. All the universities are forward-thinking and do what it takes to recruit the best and brightest student-athletes and students. A lot of that is done through facilities and facility enhancement. The opportunity to be a corporate partner of the MIAA is really exciting for us and the students.”

Langer certainly likes the relationship between the MIAA and McCownGordon.

“I am pretty honored to work for a company that has the same passion as mine,” Langer said. “It is pretty cool.”

There will be quite a few employees who will attend the MIAA Tournament. Morris is happy the company is able to provide tickets for the tournament to their employees. And with the number of employees from MIAA schools, there will be some good-natured teasing.

“A lot of our associates are sports fans so they can enjoy watching elite basketball,” Morris said. “There is a ton of talent and some great coaches in the conference. It is a great atmosphere at Municipal. It is a great benefit to this partnership.”

Larry House, associate commissioner of external affairs at the MIAA, is thrilled with the relationship the conference has with McCownGordon. “Their support is very important to us,” House said. “They have been a great partner. We look forward to many positive things to come for them with some projects on our campuses. We really appreciate their support.”

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