Antelope Intros: Kirk Wessel and JoAnn Andro
Antelope Intros is a recurring GCU Today feature that introduces some of our new employees to the people around them in a way that is fun and informative. Employees are eligible to be featured in the month following their orientation.
Job title: Associate professor of management, College of Business
Job location: Main campus
What attracted you to GCU? Everything! Christian mission, growth, great students, strong faculty.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? Bird hunting is my passion, but I like to play golf and fish, too.
What are you passionate about? I love to serve the nonprofit community but haven’t really had a chance to connect in Phoenix. In Salt Lake City I was president of the board for the YMCA, chairman of the board for Cancer Wellness House and served on the Boys and Girls Club board. I still sit on the board for Industrial Supply of SLC and consult with many organizations in my spare time.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, ballparks and any golf course.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I crashed a helicopter at night in the ocean. I attended college at the Naval Academy, studied oceanography and went to flight school after graduation. I became a helicopter pilot (thus the crash story … but I’ll save the details for another time) and chased submarines, mostly during the Cold War (Russian subs). I stayed on active duty for 12 years (cruised on aircraft carriers — America, Independence, Coral Sea, Constellation), then stayed in the Reserves for another 15. I had command of a helicopter squadron in Alameda and retired as a Navy captain. As a result, my students call me Captain Kirk (although I’m not a “Trekkie”).
What are you most proud of? Great family and diverse career (military, corporate, entrepreneur, academia, etc.). I’ve been married 39 years (kinda proud of that … hope my wife is) and have two wonderful kids. My daughter is pregnant, so we’ll have our first grandkid in December. Life is good!
Job title: Admissions representative
Job location: Federal Way, Wash.
What attracted you to GCU? My previous career was recruiting for another college, and I love working with the students and parents. It is exciting for me to lead students on an educational journey to help them fulfill their God-given destiny. Talking to students about leaving rainy, gloomy Washington to come to sunny Phoenix for their educational experience is a no-brainer. I actually grew up in Arizona and loved it. While I was at GCU for training I enjoyed reconnecting with friends over lunch and dinner. It’s always fun to eat at restaurants that we don’t have in Washington.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I love to cook and try out recipes as well as entertain. I make a party out of most everything. Having a house full of people who are eating and laughing and having a good time makes me happy.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about keeping children safe from abuse and neglect. I have been volunteering for Court Appointed Special Advocates for five years. I advocate for the best interests of children who are in dependency through Child Protective Services. I conduct monthly home visits, interact with all parties that interface with the child and represent the best interests of the child in court.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I love Phoenix and the surrounding area, especially Paradise Valley. My favorite area is Tatum and Lincoln. It is a very serene place for me with Camelback Mountain on one side and Mummy Mountain on the other. My husband and I got married at one of the churches in that area, too. I have always loved the heat and miss it with the temperate and mostly cold temps in western Washington. Nothing beats eating dinner outdoors and lying on a lounge chair by the pool at night looking at the stars.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I have had the opportunity to travel all over the world. I have been to the canals of Venice, and the beaches of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas. My favorite trip was to Greece, where I had the opportunity to not only see the ancient ruins of Athens and visit the islands of Santorini and Corfu but also visit relatives I had never met.
What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my three daughters — three beautiful young women who have a zest for life and doing God’s will.