Head shot of Frater Dale Kivi for his professional speaking engagements
Dale joined the chapter as a member of Psi pledge class and became active as scroll 153 on 12/12/77. As an undergrad, he served as Grammateus, Rush and Social Chairman. As an alumni, Frater Dale served as Alumni Advisor for three years when we restarted the chapter in the late 80's, then took over as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the next two years and coordinated with the grand chapter to buy the house. Since he had relocated to the Madison area by the end of that term, Dale was asked to serve as a District Vice President and help restart Lambda chapter in Madison. They were going through the same thing we had done at Mu Nu and hoped to have the same level of success we were able to achieve. Frater Kivi is also a founding member of the TKE Central Virginia Alumni Association here in Richmond, VA.
You are an inspiration for health and fitness! I know we've had some discussions about training for events and I've learned some valuable training tips from you. How long have you been an endurance athlete?
I did four years of distance running in cross country and track through high school (city of St. Francis, south side of Milwaukee) and will be inducted into the newly launched St. Francis High School's athletic hall of fame on December 7th, 2018 as a member of our state championship cross country and track teams, won during my senior year. I swam the 200 butterfly for UWP my senior year (trust me, that's a distance event). After graduating, I focused on running events and set a PR of 36:02 for a 10K road race (5:48 per mile over 6.2 miles) in my late 20's before getting into half and full marathons. I got into triathlons about the time I turned 40 (so 20 years ago) and have earned podium finishes in all distances (super-sprint, sprint, Olympic distance, half-Ironman and full Ironman). I qualified for and raced in the USA Triathlon National Age Group Championships (Olympic distance in 2013 and Sprint distance in 2014). I was invited to this year's Sprint distance championships as a grand master (60 year old's and up) but was not able to participate. I've also finished 5th in my age group at the U.S. Master's Swimming 2-mile National Championships and completed the 4.4 mile Great Chesapeake Bay swim in Annapolis, MD.
Dale with his 3rd place finish plaque for an Ironman triathlon
Are there any events that stand out in your mind? Maybe one that really pushed your limits or one that is special in your heart?
I could tell stories for days! Nothing negative stands out during my undergraduate years, but it was really disappointing to me how a core group of under 30 active alumni at the time shunned the new group when we restarted, suggesting they had something to prove to belong to our fraternity. Inexcusable and not what we are all about. It's a shame it too so long to get past that, but I am so appreciative of Scott Anderson's efforts years later to get us where we are now. As an undergraduate, my favorite memories were road trips, whether they were retreats at Badger Camp or to the statewide TKE basketball tournament in Stevens Point. As an alumni, hosting Three Fires at my place in Dubuque was always incredible and certainly my best memories for bonding as a group and helping the refreshed chapter form their own identity. The most special however was signing the papers to buy the house and give the chapter a home.
Fraters Dennis "Doc" Hanson, Dale Kivi, and Craig Coleman (left to right)
It sounds like you have a lifetime of TKE memories and knowledge to pass on. We appreciate that in a frater! We believe sharing life experiences can really strengthen our fraternal bond. You mention that you lived in Madison and Dubuque. When did you relocate to Richmond?
I have actually lived in six states (Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Georgia, South Carolina, and now Virginia). I worked in the Chicago area my first five years out of college (both my kids were born at Lake Forest Hospital) then got a job in Dubuque through frater Steve Sesterhenn, who was VP of HR for a healthcare software vendor at the time (he's now VP of HR for a hospital in Waterloo). I left there about four years later to join Siemens in Madison. I always say their the German equivalent of IBM, which stands for I've Been Moved. After successfully taking over the marketing department of that group, they relocated me to Atlanta so I could coordinate the marketing for six groups. I lived in the extended Atlanta area for ten years (including two years working out of a manufacturing plant just over the boarder in South Carolina before they decided the role needed to be back in metro-Atlanta). I've now been in Richmond for 16 years and love it (I was recruited here for a company owned by the founders of MapQuest). For me, Richmond is Goldilocks. Wisconsin was too cold, Atlanta was too hot, and Richmond is just right. I'm 90 miles from Virginia Beach, Washington DC, and the Shenandoah Valley. It's a great place to live.
You've had many big moments in your career, but a more recent milestone was local in Platteville. When you received the call from UWP, what went through your mind?
It was a complete surprise! About a year earlier, in response to a call for applications in the alumni newsletter, I submitted my qualifications to be considered as a Distinguished Alumni. I had just received the Distinguished Service Award, typically considered a career capstone recognition from the Wisconsin Health Information Management Association and had been named to the editorial advisory board of For the Record magazine, a leading national publication in the industry I serve, so I was feeling good about myself and threw my hat in the ring. After interacting with the UWP Alumni Relations staff through the evaluation process, they apparently thought I'd be a better fit as a commencement speaker. It was an incredible honor. Of course, since I haven't lived in Wisconsin for 25 years, I had to show my Cheesehead pride (I'm good friends with the guy who invented them) and throw a triangle to our chapter members who were part of the graduating class. It's important to show pride in where you come from.
Screenshot from Frater Dale's commencement speech video
We totally agree Dale! Wisconsin pride! You have been all over the map and you met your wife somewhere along the way, correct? How did you and Binh meet?
I met my wife when I relocated to Richmond in November of 2002. I always introduce her as Binh, (pronounced the same as 'been') not B-I-N like Bin Laden, but B-I-N-H as in Binh showing me a really good time. She was one of the account managers for the company that recruited me to Richmond. (I got permission from the company president before asking her out.) She and her family were boat people after the Vietnam war (her father fought for the South) and they spent a year in a refugee camp in the Philippines before making it to the states. She started kindergarten when they got here as a seven year old, not speaking a word of English at the time. She never missed one day of school from her first day of kindergarten through graduating high school. She was raised in a very strict and traditional Asian household, and even today, after 14 years of marriage, the only time anyone speaks English at her parents home is when they are talking to me. Being raised in a traditional Asian home, she rarely dated (had been on less than five dates in her entire life before we got together when she was 28). We dated for a year and then were engaged for a year before getting married. Throughout that time, I always got her home before 11:00 PM because that is what was expected to show respect for her and her family. Even with coming from such different backgrounds, we have the same work ethic, family values, political views and she laughs at my jokes. Who could ask for anything more? She is also an amazing cook!
Jack Sparrow meets James Bond at the AHIMA Conference in Los Angeles
That's a great story! I love how you two have so much in common despite coming from different backgrounds. The love you two share is evident in your Facebook posts. Are there any favorite Asian dishes that you enjoy?
We typically have lunch once every weekend at her parents home and it's almost always some variation of pho (properly pronounced 'fa' and not 'foe') which is a Vietnamese staple. It's a noodle soup with some sort of meat (shrimp, crab, pork, chicken, beef), a slightly spicy broth, and a fair amount of leafy green vegetables thrown in (spinach, lettuce, parsley, and/or whatever else they pull from their garden). I love it all except the pork, which they serve with a layer of fat and skin still attached. I also love spring rolls (stuffed and hand rolled with rice paper by everyone at the table according to taste) and fried egg rolls. We've visited Vietnam three times and once brought one of my brothers along. We kept track of everything he ate during the trip that he had never tried before in his life and he averaged more than three things each day over our two week trip. One time we were in a rural area visiting some of Binh's extended family and drove past a restaurant that had silhouettes of a cow, pig, chicken, fish, dog and rat at the top of their building, advertising their menu items. We didn't stop, but for anyone who has never traveled outside of the U.S., especially to a true third-world country, I strongly recommend it. You'll never look at the United States the same again.
Frater Dale with Frater Reggie Pullen, scroll #160 in San Diego
Where did the two of you get married?
Right here in Richmond at the Crowne Plaza downtown. If you saw any of the pictures with my father in law, he looked really sad, because I'm not Vietnamese. Once he saw how well we get along and how well I treat her, now he really likes me. So much so that when we go there for lunches over the weekend, he often asks if she is treating me well. If not, he'll have a talk with her and make sure she treats me like a proper Vietnamese wife. Very different culture! In Asian cultures, weddings are often multiple day affairs and include attire changes for each different component. Binh wore a traditional white American wedding dress for the ceremony, then switched to a traditional red Vietnamese wedding dress for the reception. The bridesmaid dresses were also Vietnamese, although they were blue. The dresses for Binh and the bridesmaids were all custom made.
- Run or swim? Swim
- Iced tea or lemonade? Iced tea (sweet)
- Loud or quiet? Quiet
- Tall or short? Short (Binh is 5'0")
- Green or gold? Green AND gold (Go Pack Go)
- East or west? East (Cost of living is MUCH cheaper on this side of the country)