By Tessa Lengeling ‘15
When Dave Warren ’94 started classes at Simpson College, his dream was to someday work for a federal law enforcement agency.
He credits Simpson for helping make that dream come true.
Warren is a special agent for the FBI. His cases range from violent crime incidents to human trafficking.
“I never know what I’ll be doing day-to-day,” Warren said. “The case I’m working on determines my priorities each day. One of the biggest parts of my job is working in concert with other federal agencies like the U.S. Marshals, DEA and ATF, as well as state and local police departments.”
Warren graduated from Simpson in 1994 with a Criminal Justice major and Sociology minor. He was actively involved on campus, playing baseball for three years, serving as a residential advisor for two years and working for Simpson security.
“My favorite part about Simpson is the people I met,” Warren said. “Not only the professors, but everyone else involved with the college at the time, fellow athletes and students in and out of my program.”
After graduating from Simpson, Warren landed a job with the Des Moines police department for 10 years before joining the FBI as a special agent in 2006. His first assignment was in Honolulu, Hawaii for three years. He then moved to the Texas/Mexico border for five years before moving back to Des Moines in September 2014.
Warren said his favorite part of being a special agent is seeing the investigation through and realizing he is working to protect everyone around the criminals he arrests. “I’m helping people and it gives me a sense of purpose,” Warren said.
Working for the FBI does come with many challenges. The long hours can make it difficult to keep work and personal life in balance. Prioritizing time is very important, he said.
Warren met his wife, Stacey Shore Warren ’00, through mutual friends from Simpson. They have two children and enjoy being with family and friends and attending sports events, cheering the Iowa Hawkeyes, Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs. If Merle Haggard, Social Distortion or Dropkick Murphy’s is presenting a concert in the area, you can probably find Warren and his wife there.
“You need to make sure you keep your family and job separate,” Warren said. “My family is the most important to me. But sometimes I have to set things aside because people’s lives depend on it. These crimes affect people’s lives.”
Simpson didn’t only give Warren an education, but also a platform to move forward with his goals early on. “It’s about the education and the experience,” Warren said.
Warren did an internship his senior year at Simpson with a federal agency, which put him in the position to meet the contacts to move forward in his career. Warren received his master’s degree from Drake University in 2001 while he worked with the Des Moines Police Department.
“Simpson allowed me to grow academically and professionally,” he said. “I see people I met through Simpson and haven’t seen in a long time and it’s like no time has passed. A lot of the younger graduates and I can talk about similar experiences and wanting to go back and visit and stay involved with the Simpson community.”
Warren’s Simpson experience was a big factor in moving back to the Des Moines area. “My family and I know the quality of professors Simpson has and quality of graduates it produces. We know our children will receive a good scholastic and overall experience at Simpson,” he said.
Warren is a big supporter of Simpson after his successful experience.
“One of the first things I did when I came back to Iowa was visit Simpson and my old professor Dr. Fred Jones,” Warren said, referring to the longtime professor of sociology and criminal justice. “It meant a lot that he remembered specific details about me and my experience at Simpson.
“Professors like Dr. Jones were a great help in landing my first job,” he added. “Coach John Sirianni was also always available to me to talk and write a glowing letter of recommendation.”
Warren grew up in Bloomfield, Iowa, a town with about 2,600 people.
“Simpson felt like home to me,” Warren said. “Many of the students at Simpson are from a small town like me, which makes the transition from high school to college quite easy.”
The feeling of being at home at Simpson leads to forming strong relationships.
“Looking back at my Simpson experience, I appreciate all the relationships I formed professionally and personally,” Warren said. “At the Des Moines police department I saw Simpson people everywhere and those connections are still here now that I’m back.”
Warren knows first hand that achieving your dreams takes a lot of work. “Have a clear goal in mind and know the steps to take to achieve that goal,” he said.
Warren advises current Simpson students to know the requirements for their particular career goals and to start early.
“Simpson is very good at providing a foundation for moving forward and obtaining your goals,” he said. “Take advantage of the education and experiences while at Simpson and once you have your career, keep moving forward.”