Ed Roddy (’84): A Champion for WWU Athletes
When it comes to Viking Spirit, Ed Roddy walks the talk. Winner of the 2018 Larry “Go Vikings” Taylor Alumni Service Award, Roddy is a tireless champion and the ultimate booster. His involvement in Viking Athletics for the past three decades has been critical to the success of Western students and alumni. He’s a season ticket holder who rarely misses a men’s basketball game, who attends all pre-season and post-season events, and even travels for away games. During his years at Key Bank, he was instrumental in making Viking Night a success, from setting up tables to securing scholarships.
Last year at Viking Night, Roddy’s star was shining in the middle of the court. As an employee of WECU and influential Western supporter, he ensured that WECU sponsored $250,000 in scholarships or Western athletes. For their support, WECU has their name in the center of Carver Gym’s basketball court. “We developed interest at WECU by making sure the money went to scholarships.”
But Roddy’s involvement doesn't end there. He sets up networking events for student-athletes, mentors WWU Men’s Basketball athletes, reviews resumes, and helps with applications. “I called the Human Resources person at Peoples Bank and recommended an alumnus as a great person and dedicated employee, and they interviewed him and hired him.”
That student was Preston Vermeulen(’06), an Information Technology Systems Administrator at Peoples Bank. “I met Ed in high school. He was our youth group leader and took us to games at Western.” Vermeulen attended Western and played basketball. Roddy was a WWU Men’s Basketball booster, always there for the team to offer support. After graduation, Roddy helped him get a job. “It took me six months to find a job, but then Ed called Peoples Bank.”
WWU alumnus Dan Young (’13) played WWU Men’s Basketball from 2010-2012. Roddy encouraged him to study finance when Young was an undergraduate and helped him get a job at Key Bank. When Young faced major life decisions, Roddy was there with advice and a sympathetic ear.
Even after graduation, after his time at Key Bank, Roddy was there to help Young out. “When I decided to leave Key Bank, Ed helped me find another firm to go to after that. He’s one of those selfless people you don’t find very often. He has an ability to make connections and build trust with people, and that’s so important.” Young is now a financial advisor with Edward Jones.
Roddy said, “I enjoy helping people find jobs. Some athletes come to me concerned that they haven't done anything but play sports, and I tell them ‘But look what you've learned—teamwork, time management, emotional resilience—all those soft skills that are ripe for employment.’”
Rob Primozich’s (’10) parents are Vikings, and so coming to WWU seemed natural to him. He played basketball at WWU from 2003-2005 and remembers Roddy fondly. “Ed was a fave—one of those who rooted us on. He was a great supporter of our team.”
When Primozich left Western and returned for a Master’s in business, Roddy was there for him, setting up lunches with local employers and helping him find a job for the summer.
“The thing about Ed Roddy that’s important to understand is that he is the kind of person you don’t meet very often. He is so genuine. He’s a stand-up guy.” Primozich is now a partner alliances manager at PlayStation.
And who were the mentors to this exceptional person? Roddy's favorite professors at Western were those who had been in the professional world and brought that real-world experience into the classroom. He sets up job shadows for students and alumni, letting them see firsthand what the day-to-day of a particular career entails. “I don't ask them ‘What do you want to be?’ I ask them ‘What do you picture yourself doing? What are you passionate about?’”
As a supporter of Western Athletics, Roddy brings his real-world advice and experience to young Vikings and sets them on a path of achievement and success.