Forty Under 40 Q&A: Eric Engemann
Vice president, Baton Rouge Area Sports Foundation/Instructor, LSU School of Kinesiology
One of Eric Engemann’s first jobs was working at Fontaine Lumber in Maringouin, Louisiana. He worked in the hardware store and in the lumberyard, filling orders, making deliveries, changing tires and stacking lumber in the summers and on weekends. He learned quickly that he didn’t want to do physical labor all of his life. These days, his work still has something to do with physical activity, but instead of stacking lumber, he’s an administrator at the Baton Rouge Area Sports Foundation. Engemann says 2016 and 2017 will be an important time for BRASF, with several events coming online that could shape the foundation for years to come.
THREE MAJOR PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
I am proud of what BRASF has accomplished in my eight years, helping to host hundreds of sports events in the Baton Rouge area that significantly impact our economy and improve quality of life in our community. Joining the faculty in the School of Kinesiology at LSU is also a highlight for me. There is a great deal of pride in watching our students come through our program and go on to do great things in the sports world. Lastly, being a part of the Louisiana Marathon Organizing Committee since year one and securing over 1,000 volunteers for the 2015 event has been more fun than it should be.
VOLUNTEER AND COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS AND INVOLVEMENT
Board of directors member, Louisiana Senior Olympic Games; volunteer, St. Aloysius Catholic Church; past volunteer and board member, Charles Lamar YMCA. My job with the Sports Foundation has also allowed me to work closely with a number of local charities and community groups to put on events that support their organizations, including Girls on the Run, Rocketkidz Foundation, Cajun Classic Wheelchair Tennis Tournament and Club South Runners.
WHAT ACTOR/ACTRESS WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE?
Jason Segel with shorter hair
WHAT IS YOUR THEME SONG?
Country Roads, Take Me Home, John Denver
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB, AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
My first job not working for my dad at our family farm was at Fontaine Lumber in Maringouin, Louisiana. I worked in the hardware store and in the lumberyard, filling orders, making deliveries, changing tires and stacking lumber in the summers and on weekends. It was a good experience to work for someone else and learn quickly that I didn’t want to do physical labor all my life.
NAME ONE BOOK THAT HAS INSPIRED YOU PROFESSIONALLY.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell—success rarely happens by mistake.
WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
I really loved planes—I wanted to be a fighter pilot or aeronautical engineer.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE FOR A BUSINESS LUNCH IN BATON ROUGE?
Capital City Grill downtown.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST FULFILLING MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Talking to or hearing from a past student of mine who is out in the marketplace living their dreams … nothing better than that.
WHAT WAS YOUR PROFESSIONAL “AHA MOMENT?”
In a sponsorship meeting at the University of Kentucky in 2004—I was a marketing and promotions intern and I was woefully unprepared to meet with my boss’s boss and a representative of a major sponsor. From that day forward I made a pledge to be the most prepared person in the room when I meet with anyone.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
Turn off the emails for certain time frames during the day—helps to keep me focused on a certain job or task without distractions.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN THE HARD WAY?
How important networking and personal relationships are in our business.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR JOB WOULD SHOCK CUSTOMERS OR CLIENTS IF THEY KNEW ABOUT IT?
How much time I spend in our storage unit…
MAC OR PC?
WHEN DO YOU TEXT AND WHEN DO YOU CALL?
Very dependent on the person—some people just have to be called to get their attention.
HOW LOW WILL YOU ALLOW YOUR REMAINING BATTERY LIFE GET (IN %) BEFORE YOU HAVE AN ANXIETY ATTACK?
HOW MANY UNREAD MESSAGES ARE IN YOUR INBOX RIGHT NOW?
ZERO—inbox stays very clean
HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON?
At least twice.
BREAKFAST AT HOME? BREAKFAST ON THE GO? BREAKFAST AT YOUR DESK? NO BREAKFAST AT ALL?
At home—probably had an English muffin with peanut butter every day for the last three years.
IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL? WHAT’S IN THE GLASS?
My glass is always full—hopefully I’m doing things to help fill everyone else’s.
WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO?
Be where your feet are (credit to Dr. Kevin Elko)—staying in the present and trying to live now as a professional, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a friend …
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU HAD GROWN UP?
I don’t think I have yet!
WHICH HISTORICAL FIGURE DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH?
This isn’t a single person but I’ve always had a great appreciation for our “Greatest Generation.”
WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
My parents. I hope I can be half as good to my kids as they’ve been to me and my brothers.
WHAT TRAIT DO YOU MOST DEPLORE IN OTHERS?
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST REGRET?
Not traveling more when I was younger.
WHICH TALENT OR SUPERPOWER WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE AND WHY?
Flying would be the best thing ever.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Learning how to tell people “no” more often…
WHAT’S YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
I have a lot of memorabilia from my work in college athletics from LSU, Wisconsin and Kentucky—reminds me of the people and events I was a part of in that part of my career.
IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE ON THIS PLANET AND TAKE EVERYTHING THAT YOU LOVE WITH YOU, WHERE WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO LIVE AND WHY?
St. John, USVI—just an incredibly beautiful, mostly untouched Caribbean island with great history and interesting people.
WHAT DO YOU MOST VALUE IN YOUR FRIENDS?
Their willingness to do anything for me—very fortunate to have great friends both locally and around the country.
WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT THE ’90s?
IF YOU HAD TO BE A TEACHER OF SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD YOU TEACH?
I am a teacher!
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME 20 YEARS, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF?
I’d love to tell a 15-year-old me to work harder … I was a little lazy as a teenager.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH EVERY TIME YOU THINK ABOUT IT?
Old Saturday Night Live episodes with Chris Farley and Will Ferrell.
WHO’S THE MOST FAMOUS CELEBRITY YOU’VE EVER MET?
WHAT’S THE NEXT CHALLENGE YOU HAVE PLANNED?
We have a couple of big events coming online that we think could be really significant to the future of the Sports Foundation. 2016-2017 will be really important for BRASF.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, WHAT CONCERNS YOU MOST ABOUT THE FUTURE THEY WILL INHERIT?
Very concerned about the general stability of our world going forward—we grew up in relatively stable times from a geopolitical standpoint.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE FOR FUTURE FORTY UNDER 40 HONOREES?
A friend and colleague has made this point to me in the past—do the work. Every day. Whatever your goals are, personally and professionally, you’ve got to follow through and make it happen. And you don’t have to do it alone—groups always get more done than lone rangers.
DO YOU PLAN TO BE IN THE CAPITAL REGION FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? WHY OR WHY NOT?
This area is home for me, and my family absolutely plans to be here for the long run. But you never say never!
NAME THREE THINGS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST.
Travel to Europe. Play golf in Scotland. Go to a soccer World Cup.