MCC Profile: Kevin Eikenberry: Teaching leadership skills that began at MCC. 

April 4, 2022

MCC Alumni Feature: Kevin Eikenberry: Teaching leadership skills that began at MCC. 

Spartan News is presented by Mason County Central Schools in partnership with Mason County Press. This special series of Spartan News features alumni of MCC.  

By Sarah Jensen, Contributing Writer. 

  • Mason County Central High School Class of 1980
  • Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of science, Agricultural Mechanization, Purdue University
  • Current Position: Chief Potential Officer, The Kevin Eikenberry Group

Kevin Eikenberry could have come home after his Purdue graduation and applied his agriculture degree on the family farm south of Scottville. Instead, he joined corporate America as a sales representative for the fertilizer division of Chevron Chemical Company, rising in the ranks until he took a position in training and development at Chevron’s world headquarters in San Francisco. 

And in 1993, he struck out on his own and founded his company, The Kevin Eikenberry Group. 

“I always thought I’d have my own company,” he admits. “It started out as just me, and now there’s a team of 14 of us across the United States.” Contract employees round out the team to provide client training and coaching. 

Based in Indianapolis, The Kevin Eikenberry Group specializes in leadership development. Business leaders and organizations throughout the world attend in-person and virtual courses and workshops to learn proven leadership principles to increase productivity. Kevin’s clients have included Great Lakes Energy, 7-11, LG Electronics, Southwest Airlines, and several divisions of the federal government.

“I really believe I found what I was supposed to do on this earth,” he says. “And I have a great team of people I get a chance to work with.”

The Kevin Eikenberry Group creates and distributes all manner of learning products – workbooks, videos, multimedia learning kits, and custom master classes. “Pick a medium, we’ve got it,” explains Kevin. In his weekly Remarkable Leadership Podcast, he speaks with leaders from a variety of industries who share their stories about teamwork, corporate culture, facilitating change, organizational learning, and human potential. 

Kevin has written and co-authored 21 books, including Remarkable Leadership, a guide to developing successful leadership skills. His appreciation for learning was nurtured in a family that recognized the value of an education. Kevin’s grandmother, Gladys, taught fifth grade at MCC for 20 years (along with at rural one-room schools prior to that) and instilled in countless students an appreciation for reading. 

Kevin’s years at MCC provided the foundation for the skills he uses every day. 

The Eikenberry Group seeks to empower effective leaders, and its encouraging and positive quality reflects Kevin’s own nature. That upbeat demeanor is one his Scottville classmates recognized when they voted him Most Optimistic in 1980. 

“I was fortunate to have some really great teachers,” he says, citing science instructor Mike Keenan and social science teacher Gerry Genter in particular. “They pushed me, they believed in me, and they supported me, and some of them are friends to this day.”

Although MCC’s student body was relatively small when he was a student there, Kevin doesn’t consider the school’s size to have been a drawback. “Academically, there probably were some disadvantages,” he says. “That is less true now because of online options and the partnerships with West Shore [Community College]. But I think the size was great because we had the chance to be in leadership positions and to build relationships with our classmates.” 

As president of his class, Kevin had the chance to exercise his leadership capabilities and to become comfortable with public speaking. He was the first student to speak at an MCC commencement ceremony. “I was also the student speaker at my college commencement,” he says. “When I think about what I do every day and that my public speaking began in high school in Scottville, it just makes me smile.”

Kevin developed his presentation skills in the high school band, as well, where he played saxophone, and in his roles as Pappy Yokum in Lil Abner and the title character in Professor Fennerstein’s Magical Musical in high school productions. He and his sax continued in the Purdue marching band, and the confidence and abilities he gained in his participation in theater continue to serve him well.

“We learned a lot and had a lot of fun,” he recalls of the plays. “But if we’d had better facilities, I’m sure it would have allowed us to extend our learning even more. And we could have been more prolific, doing more than one play a year.” The shows drew sell-out crowds, Kevin recalls, and he believes a larger, updated facility would result in even larger audiences.

This spring, voters in the Mason County Central School District are being asked to decide on a $33 million bond proposal that includes much needed infrastructure and security/safety updates throughout the campus. The bond proposal also includes the building of a performing arts center/auditorium.

“A theater is about a lot more than just the students, as important as that is,” he says. “It’s not just about preparing our kids and giving them better opportunities or richer experiences. It’s also an opportunity for economic development for the community – and perhaps a way to keep more talent at home and allow some of us to come home again.”

Additional state-of-the-art facilities in the community and improvements in technology and digitization would enable talent to stay in the area instead of seek careers far from home. Kevin hopes to retire one day in Mason County, but in the meantime, he and his wife Lori spend summers at the family farm (located in the MCC school district in Custer Township) and visit often. He doesn’t, however, always leave his work in Indiana. Though reliable internet service doesn’t yet extend to the farm, he’s conducted virtual workshops from a neighbor’s house. “I’ve done work halfway around the world from south of Custer,” he says. In addition to the farm, which they own jointly with Kevin’s sister, Paula Mendenhall (Class of ’82) and her husband, Grady, the Eikenberrys own other acreage within the school district as well.

“The world of work is changing,” he continues. “That’s an opportunity for small towns everywhere.”

Kevin and Lori live in Indianapolis where Lori is a pharmacist. They have two adult children, Parker and Kelsey. Kevin is the son of the late Phil Eikenberry and Jan Wallis of Ludington.

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