A 1993 graduate of Upper Iowa University, Rick Baker fully understands how his continuing education benefitted him in advancing in his career.
Majoring in accounting and finance at UIU, the Wykoff, Minn., native is the past president and COO of Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, and past president and CEO of Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he completed the Institute for Organizational Management at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Currently serving as president/CEO of Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce in Grand Rapids, Mich., Baker said, “Even though I have chosen a path other than public or corporate accounting, the accounting education I received at UIU has served as a very good foundation for my career. Knowing how the financials of an organization work have helped me make more informed business decisions.
“My UIU education certainly had a significant impact on my career,” he continued. “The University’s delivery of education through its satellite campuses has made it possible for many others like me to have access to a higher education. I know that if it had not been for attending the (former) UIU satellite campus in Newton, Iowa, I would not have the career I do today.”
Baker noted the former UIU Newton Center allowed him to complete his education, while working full-time then as the President of the Newton Chamber of Commerce. The second of his two children was also born during his first semester of attending classes at the university.
“The faculty and staff were local business people with a specific expertise, so I felt the education offered was very practical and real-world,” he continued. “The majority of students were also working adults, so I really enjoyed learning from my colleagues as we all learned together.”
The past experiences he shared with the UIU faculty and classmates continue to serve him now as he oversees and leads the strategic direction of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.