Frater Alex was initiated as the 515th member of the Mu Nu Chapter during the spring 2007 semester. While active, he was Rush, Social and MQB chairman. Alex was born in Des Plains, IL but he moved to La Valle, WI at the age of 5 when his parents bought a bar and grill there. He graduated high school in 2005 from Wonewoc Center, then went to college at UW-Platteville where he graduated in 2010. Alex is currently the Director of Housekeeping at the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor's Club.
We have to ask. How did you get in a shopping ad?!
Dun (Andrew Weber) and I both worked at Farm and Fleet. During a manager conference, they asked if anyone would want to be in the ad. They said we would get a gift card but we never did lol.
What has life brought your way since graduation?
I met my wife at the last pledge exchange that I was a part of. This was during the spring 2010 semester when I had Sean "Jafar" Wiedersheim as a little brother. Jaclyn Stephenson was my little sister for the day. I was out the night before so waking up really early wasn't exactly something I was looking forward to. I came downstairs and asked someone who she was. I approached her, tossed one of my favorite TKE shirts at her and said "don't ruin it". Fast forward 6 years and we were getting married on May 7th, 2016. Since then, we have had two little girls Lily (2 years old) and Brielle (just born this past May 22nd). We bought a house and moved to Mineral Point.
Pledge exchanges were always very interesting.
Haha no kidding. My first pledge exchange during spring 2007 was awesome! Kelley Steiner (Mergen) was my big sister and made sure that it would be memorable or a lack-thereof!
Did the Fraternity give you any tools to be more prepared as an employee, husband, father, etc.?
The fraternity did help a lot. The interviews we did with each other helped me be more comfortable in that type of setting. The fraternity helped me in ways that I probably haven't even realized yet. I don't know that I can really drill down into the details of it for the simple fact that it isn't like a curriculum of how to be an employee, husband, father, etc.... but I can say for sure that I would not be who I am today if it wasn't for TKE and the people in it. I am sure that I wouldn't have met my wife or have these amazing daughters in my life. As I write this I am gaining a little bit of clarity into your question.... throughout pledging and after we learn that the strongest geometric shape is the equilateral triangle. We learn to lean on each other and know that as long as we stick together nothing can break us. This notion is true with family as well. Jobs can come and go ... they are an important part of life as we all need money to live comfortably however family is so much more important. If you can remember that as long as you stick together and have each other's backs...nothing can break you.
What is your most vivid memory from the first year of being a Teke?
Meeting Percy and having him tell me not to throw toothpicks in the urinal because the crabs have learned to pole vault would have to be one memory. Lol probably calling out Rico also and asking if we were cool since I thought he was texting my girlfriend at the time. Turns out that was another Rico.
Was that the first time you met him?
Yep. At least the first time I remember. We were playing cards in the bar room of the basement.
Do you have any fun memories in the Fraternity after graduation?
Coming back after graduation for the first few years was always fun. Unfortunately I have grown away from it which is something I regret. It is just really difficult to find time with a family, working in Madison and living in Mineral Point, and trying to find time for hobbies (hunting and fishing). I loved how many guys showed up for my wedding and I really would have loved to just have an open invitation for everyone. I loved getting the chapter picture at the reception and when they sang Jaclyn the sweetheart song. I have been wanting to get to the summer meet up for so long but it always lands on or around my birthday and I always have plans with the family. Kind of the same for Percypalooza.
What are some things that you and Jaclyn enjoy doing with your children?
New things are great. I love taking Lily swimming. I am very excited to get her out fishing too.
What is one funny parenting moment you've experienced? And one gratifying one?
Funny parenting moment...there are so many. Blowouts are always a terrifying yet hilarious situation. Getting to dress them for Halloween before they can tell you no is fun. The first year we dressed her up as an old woman which was great. Our newest daughter gave me quite a shock the first day we were home from the hospital. I started to change her diaper when she started peeing. Shortly after peeing she shot a stream of poop out of the bassinet (through the mesh netting) about 3 fee across the room, getting on the carpet, couch and across my laptop screen. You would never think how often you will talk about poop until you have a kid. Very recently Lily found a new part of her anatomy. Jaclyn had just given her a bath when she started playing with her chest. She said "Mom, what's that?" Jaclyn thought for a moment about whether or not to be honest or play it off. She decided to be honest and said those are your nipples. Imagine a 2 yea old voice saying "nipples?!?".
There are also so many gratifying moments. Every new milestone is a proud moment from the first smile to the first time on the potty. Watching my oldest daughter do her best to help out with our newborn has been wonderful. One of the best things about parenting would be when she comes running across the house for no apparent reason but gives a hug at full speed followed by an "I love you Daddy". There is no way to compare that moment after a long day at work or during a difficult time.
Master Splinter, do you have any parting wisdom for us?
One saying that always stuck with me was you get out what you put in. I didn't always put everything in, but my last semester I really did. I loved being at the house so much! That was my favorite semester even with all the horror stories guys would tell about living there. If I had to go back and do it again, I would move into the house sooner.
There are so many guys that I credit with making my time in TKE so great...Echo, Rico, Xander, Brock, Percy, Turbo, Jafar, Flip, Boon (lol)...oh Boon, Ditka, Wookie, Worm, Whytee, Rocky, Murphy, Diz, Blue and many more. Life long great memories.