By Taryn Gillespie
Making the transition from Kansas State Fair manager to Marketing and Public information for HCC has been a good experience for Denny Stoecklein.
“I had been with the fair for 20 years,” Stoecklein said. “I had been the fair manager for 12 of those years.”
Taking on the role of the fair manager is a big job, but for Stoecklein he was too busy to mind.
“You wear many different hats as the fair manager,” Stoecklein said. “You oversee the whole operation of the fair. I was involved with the entertainment side of the fair and the organizations that book the concerts for the fair.”
He loved the fair and that’s what drew him into many years employed there.
“To me the fair represents Americana,” Stoecklein said. “It’s a snapshot of Kansas and the more simpler days.”
To Stoecklein the fair is a unique place and there is a magical aspect to it. “At the fair I could just walk out of my office and see two or maybe even three generations of people all enjoying themselves,” Stoecklein said. “It’s a pretty short list of places you can go as a family now a days when mom, dad, the kids, grandma and grandpa can all have fun.”
After being with the fair for 20 years, Stoecklein needed something new.
“I like to challenge myself, and if I wanted a challenge in the fair industry I would have had to move out of state,” Stoecklein said. “The job I had at the fair was the only one of it’s kind and moving just didn’t really appeal to me and my family.”
When he first found out about the marketing position open at Hutchinson Community College he wasn’t too sure about it.
“When I thought more about this opportunity at the college it really intrigued me because I always thought it would be neat to be a part of the school atmosphere,” Stoecklein said. “It’s a school I attended, my wife attended, our oldest son attended and our youngest son attends.”
Dan Naccarato, Business Management and Entrepreneurship at HCC, felt that the position was a good one for Stoecklein.
“Denny and I have been friends for many years and I knew it would be a good fit when he showed interest in the job,” Naccarato said. “He brings enthusiasm and it’s easy to tell he loves Hutchinson Community College.”
Stoecklein is proud of his decision to take a leap and try something new.
“There hasn’t been one minute that I have looked back with one bit of regret at taking this opportunity,” Stoecklein said. “With this position at the school I get to make an impact of students lives personally.”
With a new job comes new responsibilities.
“In this job I am still learning and will be learning for a while,” Stoecklein said. “I am always telling the ladies in the office if I am not doing something I am supposed to, you need to tell me because I probably don’t even know yet.”
Being in charge of marketing Stoecklein wants to come up with fresh ideas to reach out students.
“We are continually looking for ways to reach current and new students.”
As well as his job with HCC, Stoecklein has also been recruited as a speaker for the entrepreneurs forum which was scheduled to be held on Nov. 5th.
There is an entrepreneurs forum held twice a year.
“We bring in people who have been successful to talk about their life story,” Naccarato said. “I think this forum is going to be really fun because we had him lined up to speak when he was still at the fair, we are glad he has continued to go forward with it because he is still someone who can still give insight and will be an interesting speaker.”
Corbin Strobel, Admissions director at HCC, appreciates the creativity Stoecklein brings to the table.
“It’s been great to have him as part of our team,” Strobel said. “He brings new and fresh ideas to the group.”
For Stoecklein it’s the staff of the marketing department and college that make his job what it’s cracked up to be.
“The best part of working at the college is the people who work here genuinely love the college and love what they’re doing and want to make an impact,” Stoecklein said. “They aren’t just going through the motions. That kind of attitude is contagious. Seeing the people who have been here for 10, 15, 20 years still get so excited about what they are doing is pretty motivating.”