Born: March 1, 1960, Minneapolis Minnesota
Lincoln High School, Sioux Falls, SD, Class of 1978
Augustana College, Sioux Falls SD, BA in Political Science, 1982
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS),
Washington DC - studied one year at the SAIS Bologna Center, Bologna, Italy: MA in International Relations 1984. Areas of Study: International Economics; West European Politics
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Campus
Ph.D. in Political Science, December 1994
Dissertation Title: The Construction of Post-Cold War German Foreign Policy: Political Parties, The Press, and the Wars of 1991.
1976-77 The First Edition Restaurant, Sioux Falls
On turning 16 I actually got my first job at Village Inn Pizza listed below. But I only worked there two weeks before moving to the First Edition Restaurant, a fine Sioux Falls Steak House. There I was a busboy and dishwasher (one of the fastest dishwashers I might add - I may have had a future in that profession). The First Edition was OK, but I got stick of Busboy/DMO after awhile. We were the cleanest kitchen in town according to the health inspector, and I learned alot. Most importantly, I think having a high school job is important as there are things one can't learn at school -- you have to be out working!
Summer 1977 - Eastpark Drive-inn Theater
In the summer of '77 I had a stint as an usher in a drive in movie theater. My favorite film that summer: Freaky Friday. We showed "A Star is Born" with Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristopherson during fair week, so I got to know that show better than I wanted to. I loved working the dusk to dawn shows (10 hour shifts), but remember having to wake up patrons who fell asleep. That was always interesting, esp. going to a van and finding a naked couple sprawled next to each other, fast asleep. I simply knocked on the window, "we have to close up, sir, time to go." The guy looked at me, "OK, man, that's cool." It was the easiest job I had, pretty laid back.
1977-81: Village Inn Pizza Parlor, Sioux Falls.
One of my favorite jobs in my life -- I started as a dishwasher, and in a month was a night manager. On my first night working ever I burnt myself running the pizza ovens, and kept going, not wanting to complain. By the end of the night I had a huge blister and got a chewing out from the boss -- if you get injured, tell someone! It's a job, not a place for some kind of heroics! But being a night manager was the best part. I enjoyed running shifts, making and eating pizza, and having fun. There I developed my philosophy that anything is fun and interesting if you go at it with the right attitude. We had some good times making pizza for the people of Sioux Falls. I also got my first experience in teaching, as I was training supervisor. I only worked summers the last two years as I had another school year job, but learned a lot about the restaurant business. I still make can make a damn good pizza, and have never gotten sick of eating it. I also liked to work double shifts on holidays like the 4th of July or Easter Sunday. One summer I took over the Assistant Manager's duties and averaged 15 hours of overtime a week -- that meant I made more money that an assistant manager, who is paid on salary would have made.
1980-82: May, Johnson, Doyle and Becker Law Firm, Sioux Falls
What a job to get! They would hire one Augie pre-law student, and give that person a leg up by working at a law firm and making contacts. The opportunity was fantastic! I loved working for the folks at May, Johnson, Doyle and Becker, and learned a lot about law. I also learned I didnt want to be a lawyer. I think they were a bit disappointed (and perhaps slightly insulted) that my experience there pushed me away from a law career, but Im glad I found out then that law was not my cup of tea. I worked there thirty hours a week during the school year, and split time with Village Inn in the summers (giving me wonderous sixty hour work weeks -- I was driven by the desire for $$$$).
Summer 1982: Guidos Pizza
Ah, what a fun job. I spent most of the time there playing Donkey Kong. A former manager at Village Inn tried to start his own pizza place. He ran the day shift, and hired me to run the night shift. I usually worked during the day at the law firm, then rushed to Guidos in the evening. The place did unbaked pizzas people were supposed to take home an dheat up. It never caught on. I became a Donkey Kong expert that summer, and made some money, but Guidos closed down a year later. I studied Italian and German sometimes when it was slow and everything clean since I was going to Italy that fall. I also had a Wednesday morning radio show at Augustanas radio station. I kept getting the station manager mad at me because I wouldnt play religious promos (it was a Lutheran school so they wanted them), and I played too much Todd Rundgren. Oh well. I still have the tapes...eerily to listen to now, I really had a South Dakota accent then!
Summer 1983: Starmark Kitchen Cabinets
What a horrid job -- but one I never regretted. I got up at 6:30, punched in by 7:00, and did assembly line production in a very hot factory until 3:30. Most of the time I was sanding kitchen cabinets, sometimes on an assembly line with the hardest working folk in the place, a group of Laotian refugees. The man wanted to introduce me to his daughter until he found out I was heading to Washington DC for grad school that fall. I hated the job, and it spurred me on to work hard in grad school, but I have respect for Starmark. In December they sent me a check for a couple hundred dollars. They explained that the manager reported I had done much more work than the minimum wage "stocker" they had hired me as, and thus they felt I should have been paid a higher wage. I had never even complained. Who says all businesses are unethical?
1983-1986: Senator Larry Pressler
I needed a job while working for my MA, and I found one with South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler. I thought at the time I was a Republican or even a libertarian of sorts, but as I learned what politics was really like, I found myself becoming more and more "liberal." The trouble was, my Senator was following Reagan, and went from being known as a liberal Republican to a conservative Republican. I found myself even voting against my "boss" in the 1984 elections, despite having worked on his campaign. Still, I was learning a lot, and even got a trip to Greece and Turkey as I worked on foreign affairs. Yet, I realized that I had to be true to my self and couldnt work for someone I didnt believe in. I decided to quit that rather prestigious job. My dad was shocked. My co-workers admired my willingness to give it up without knowing what would happen. I took money saved up and went to Europe for a couple of months to visit friends, and then...
1986 - Rocky Rococo Pizza, Assistant Manager, Brooklyn Park, MN
My dad shook his head. He loved telling friends his son was working for the Senator in Washington, taking trips to Greece and Turkey...now he had to say I was a night manager at a pizza place in a Twin Cities suburb. But it was liberating. I loved being back in a restaurant, and enjoyed running shifts, making pizza, and learning more and more about the management side of the business. I even took a short restaurant management course within Rocky Rococos operation in Madison, Wisconsin. But I knew that it would not be my life. My background was pushing me to academia, and that was my plan. Thus in the fall of 1986 I started the Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota. Still, my willingness to change jobs reflects a general philosophy of life I have: DO WHAT YOU WANT! Don't worry about making the most money, living by the rules society has, or doing what others expect you to do. Figure out what you really want to do and just MAKE IT HAPPEN. I've taken lots of risks and they always worked out when I set my mind to it.
1987-93, University of Minnesota, Teaching Assistant
The program was great at the University of Minnesota! Only 15 people were admitted into the Ph.D. program a year, with full funding of tuition, plus the chance to earn about $9000 a year as a teaching assistant for three years guaranteed. After that, you had to either get permission to teach your own course, or pick up a TA position for another course. (Our teaching assistants didnt teach courses until we had passed or preliminery exams -- thus most TAs were graders, held office hours, and gave lectures now and then). I passed my prelims in the Fall of 1989 and taught my first class, "Foreign Policy Decision Making" in Winter 1990. It had 200 people, but I knew I had found what I wanted to do: TEACH! It was FUN!
Other teaching stints as I worked on my dissertation:
St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
Fall 1990, Spring 1994, and the Entire 1994-95 school year
Carleton College, Northfield, MN
I was a teaching machine. I picked up courses wherever I could. That slowed down my dissertation writing, but helped me maintain a little better life style financially as I worked away. I also had an entire year in there doing my dissertation research living in Berlin and Bonn. Germany with a DAAD Scholarship (July 1991-July 1992).
The University of Maine at Farmington, 1995- present
I was lucky to get a job at a fine teaching institution in a beautiful part of the country, with great colleagues, good students, and a chance to really play a role in working to make my university a better place. I remember telling my dad when I was in my early twenties that I didnít want to settle into a long term profession or workplace until I was 35. He said I was crazy, that I would give up a lot of earning potential. But I was prescient -- I got the job I was meant to have. The sad part is that on the day before I flew to Farmington for my job interview I had to attend my fathers funeral. He had died of pancreas cancer. My last conversation with him was about job offers I had and was expecting, and how I would prefer Maine because I didnít want to be in the South, and I wanted to avoid a big research institution. He said he was sure Iíd be there. When I said goodbye he said, "youíre going to teach in Maine."
On December 14th 1996 I married the woman I always dreamed of meeting, Natalia Kurochkina (Natasha Erb), and we're building a fantastic life together. Natasha is a CPA working now as Director of Billing and Patient Accounts at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, and I'm happy to let her handle financial matters. In April 2001 I received tenure at UMF and promotion to Associate Professor. In 2007 I was promoted to full Professor. We have two boys, Ryan born April 3, 2003, and Dana born December 27, 2005.