Mike Kofahl - Marketing
Graduate Employed Marketing Skills to Reap Success in Music Industry, and as Business Exec
Like many people, 2003 Southeastern graduate Mike Kofahl has shelves of books in his Bowling Green, Kentucky, home. But unlike most, one of his shelves is highlighted by a unique keepsake: a 2008 Dove Award for Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year.
The award came as a surprise to Kofahl. Though his band was nominated for three awards, he and fellow members didn't expect to win. In fact, Austins Bridge was performing at a church in Alabama the night they received the congratulatory phone call. "It's always nice to be recognized," said Kofahl, especially "for me personally, since I had a part of writing the song that won the award." The song, titled "He's in Control," beat out four other finalists.
Kofahl says his marketing degree at Southeastern was instrumental to his success in the music industry, and now as Vice President of Marketing for his father's business, Fayette Custom Millwork. In music, Kofahl's marketing and business study enabled him to market an earlier singing group, negotiate contracts, and represent the group publicly.
Now, as the vice president of marketing for a custom construction company, Kofahl uses what he learned in his Southeastern business and marketing classes to produce effective and positive results at Fayette Custom Millwork. Kofahl oversees the hiring and management of 50 employees. Many times he will interact with engineers, estimators, and laborers all in the same day. As he bounces from job site to job site, his ability to maintain an effective team that works together is of utmost importance, he said. The job requires "figuring out what situations people work best in" and creating "a work environment that maximizes their strengths."
Kofahl first learned to fine tune these business skills at Southeastern, where working with people is something he constantly learned, he said. The team atmosphere trickled "all the way down to the way the business classes were structured," he said. He remembers always pairing up with fellow students to complete in-class projects. Those team-oriented practices stuck with him, he said, and "all that comes back to you" in real-life business situations.
Southeastern also taught the singer-turned-VP "not to be afraid to tackle things." Since networking is an important part of his position, Kofahl said that having confidence in his ability to build relationships with potential customers is crucial to Fayette Custom Millwork's success. He meets with potential clients nearly every week; "I have a lot of lunches," he said. He uses his natural people skills to make connections with new contacts. His business and marketing classes gave him the courage to, in his words "go out and put his skill set to work."