Dan and Meaghan (Larson) Rettke

Dan and Meaghan (Larson) Rettke

July 1, 2019

Dan Rettke (2018)

Dan Rettke is an active member of Webster Hills United Methodist Church and serves on the Missouri Bankers Association Young Bankers Leadership Board.  He is an active member of the Union Kiwanis Club and serves as the Golf Tournament Committee Chair.  He was a finalist for Missouri Young Bankers Leadership Award in 2016 and won the 2019 Union (MO) Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award as the Outstanding Young Person.  He enjoys sports, games, travelling, and spending time with family. Dan and Meaghan’s 11-month-old daughter, Reese, is the center of their lives and they are excited to add a little boy to their family in October.

Meaghan (L) Rettke (2018)

Meaghan (Larson) Rettke serves as the Secretary of the Webster Hills United Methodist Church Leadership Board.  Her marketing internships at Six Flags – St. Louis led to an opportunity to join the Group Sales team and combine her Communication degree with her love of event planning.  Meaghan was named the 2012 Six Flags Account Executive of the Year and was promoted to General Sales Manager in 2017.  Meaghan likes to say that she sells fun for a living. Outside of work, Meaghan enjoys spending her free time with family and close friends. Meaghan and Dan have an adorable, adopted, fluffy yellow dog that was our first love before they added their daughter Reese.

What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?

Dan (D):  I graduated in 2009 with a concentration in Journalism.

Meaghan (M):  I graduated in 2010 with a concentration in Public Communication.

What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?

D:  I served in various roles at News 36 (now known as TMN-TV) including Executive Producer. I also hosted radio shows on KTRM, wrote for the Index and TMN, and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

Dan (3rd fr left, back row) and hhis Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brothers after a softball game (2007).

M:  I was an active member of the Student Activities Board, including Vice President, was a Student Ambassador and was in the sorority Sigma Kappa.

Meaghan (behind the sigma) and her Sigma Kappa sorority sisters (2008).

Did you go to grad school? If so, where?  Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait?  Why?

D:  I didn’t immediately after I left Truman, but I’m graduating with a Masters in Management and Leadership in Spring 2020 from Webster University.  A great benefit of my job is that my employer paid for my advanced degree.

M:  I have not attended grad school. Dan and I wanted to get settled first and we both found jobs that we enjoyed and did not pursue it immediately.

What was your first job after graduation?

Meaghan (right),  a co-worker, and Santa Claus at a Six Flags holiday party (2016).

D:  I worked in Communications and Marketing at A.T. Still University in Kirksville.

M:  I became an Account Executive Group Sales Department at Six Flags – St. Louis after previously interning with Six Flags in Public Relations.

What work do you do/What are you doing now?

D:  I am an Assistant Vice President of Retail Operations and Marketing at United Bank of Union.

M:  I am now the General Sales Manager at Six Flags.

How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?

D: It helped me become more resourceful and develop my problem solving skills. I also learned how to translate those skills across various fields and experiences.

M: Truman taught me to be well-rounded and comprehensive in my approach in leading my team. Practical experience in event planning with the Student Activities Board really set me up for future success.

Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?

D: Rhetoric. I was fascinated about the subject, but grasping the idea of how powerful words truly are was daunting to me. Now, I use those skills and that approach on a daily basis. Whether it is managing employees, pitching ideas, or conversing with customers, learning how to communicate with others is very useful skill.

Dan (center) hanging out and “communicating” friends (2007).

M: I don’t have any class in particular that stands out in this way, but in general, I think back fondly about taking classes in subjects that weren’t ideal at the time, but I am extremely glad to have experienced them now.

What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?

D: My greatest accomplishment at Truman was steering News 36 (now TMN-TV) through the transition of not having a studio and then learning and teaching from a brand new studio just before graduation.

M: Being elected as Vice President as Student Activities Board.

Meaghan and the SAB crew in Pershing Arena (2009).

Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?

D: Truman is the perfect size: large enough and well respected enough to get all of the great experiences and opportunities, but small enough to get small class sizes and one on one opportunities with quality faculty and staff.

M: Being in a small city like Kirksville, it pushes students, in the best way possible, to get involved with campus life and to make fast friends. Truman’s liberal arts education, class sizes, and campus opportunities were also really important to me.

Meaghan with Dan winning the Distinguished Service Award (2019).

What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?

D: Take advantage of the connections and experiences available. I got to intern for 3 weeks with CNN and Politico at the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions because of my work at TMN. Watching Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech is a pretty special memory.

M: Take advantage of the knowledge and experiences of the faculty and their connections to alumni for future opportunities.

What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?

D: Overall, I think it is important to find a job that you enjoy. To do that, you must first understand what you value in a position. I realized through my experiences that I enjoyed problem solving, creativity, variety, motivating others, and being supported in my work. My job gives me that daily.

M: Be open to all opportunities and experiences put in front of you, because you never know where your path might lead.

Dan & Meaghan looking sharp in a residence hall (2008).

What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?

D: I miss the people. Some of my greatest friends in life I met at Truman. You make friends easily and enjoy time creatively in a small town like Kirksville, and those are my favorite memories.

M: We made life-long friends and unbelievable connections. I miss that the most.

If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?

D: Problem Solving Communication

M: Political Communication in Today’s Society

Based on Truman’s annual Big Event community service project, Dan started “Project United” in 2015 as a bi-annual community service event as community outreach on behalf of United Bank of Union. Through nine events, more than 1200 volunteers representing more than 50 unique organizations have completed more than 4800 hours of community service on nearly 75 unique projects across the city of Union. It has won multiple Union (MO) Chamber of Commerce Excellence Awards for Community Project.

The Rettkes happy at home (2019).

If you would like to learn more of Dan and Meaghan’s story, or if you want to learn more about the Department of Communication, contact us!