Though he’s always been interested in electronics and the latest gadgets, Michael Sadler wouldn’t describe himself as a “techie.” In fact, when he graduated from Simpson with a management degree, Sadler thought he would use it to run his own retail business some day.
“Then I got this job managing a clothing store in the mall,” he said. “Within about three months I figured out I wanted to do something else.”
Sadler went to work for Qwest Communications, where for six of the past 15 years he has advocated on the company’s behalf before local, state and federal government officials. He is an expert in the issue of “net neutrality” — or whether the Internet should be regulated (his company says it shouldn’t) — and must stay current on emerging consumer trends so he understands what Qwest’s role will be in the digital future.
“I never would have pictured myself doing what I do now,” Sadler said. “But now I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. It’s funny how life takes you in different directions.”
At first, he didn’t plan on Simpson, either. A standout basketball player at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines, Sadler had settled on Wartburg College before Simpson’s former Head Coach Denny Dearden invited him for a visit.
“I went down there to Simpson and fell in love with it,” Sadler said. “I walked on campus and just felt at home.”
A self-described average student, Sadler admits getting “the first semester talk” from the two most influential people in his life: his mom and his coach.
“They both said something along the lines of, ‘ok, do you realize you are here to go to school?’” Sadler recalls with a laugh. “What I really learned at Simpson was how to study and how to learn. I was a sponge.”
As a student-athlete, Sadler said he spent a lot of time on the basketball court — where he still remembers Coach Bruce Wilson’s mantra: “We got to get after it from the get-go.”
“It means giving everything your very best, right from the start,” he said. “I’ve really tried to apply that to my whole life.”