Frater Spencer joined Mu Nu during the fall 2006 semester. He graduated in Fall 2011 with an Industrial Technology Management degree and business minor. Spencer now works for Lowe's Home Improvement where he covers one third of the North Chicago District as a Senior Asset Protection Manager. He married Melissa (former Mu Nu Sweetheart in ) on July 23rd, 2011. They have two children; Adeline is 3 and Tucker is 5 years old. Melissa works as a Medical Technician for Advanced Fertility Center and is training to be an Embryologist.
Frater Justin was initiated two years after Spencer in the fall of 2008. He also graduated with an Industrial Technology Management degree, but his minor is Occupational Safety Management. Justin married his wife Lexi on October 28, 2017.
Spencer, you and your wife just had your 8 year anniversary. What did you two do to celebrate?
S: We had a nice dinner as a family and watched a movie with a ton of snacks. We love relaxing and cuddling our kids while watching a movie. Great family time!
Tell us about one of your favorite memories with your children.
S: Honestly the best memory I have is laying down at night and reading books to my children. There isn't a better feeling in the world than when they both say "I love you". Raising children can be very difficult at times and it's little moments like that which make everything worth it.
Justin, we see your posts about bicycle rides with Lexi. How long have you been going on rides together?
J: We basically just started going on rides a lot this spring. I had a doctor's appointment in the first part of January and got a pretty big wake-up call. I decided that I've had enough fun and it was time for a lifestyle change. Since the end of January, I have lost 95 pounds and plan on losing at least another 50-60 pounds.
Have you made any lifestyle changes other than increasing your exercise?
J:Yes. At that same time in January, I decided to cut out pretty much all fast food, soda (except when you have a mixed drink of course) and energy drinks.
Soda is something that I struggle with. That is a huge accomplishment!
J:Yeah, it has been one of the hardest parts for me too. I used to go to McDonald's just for a large Coke multiple times per week.
How do you feel since you lost the weight?
J:I feel pretty damn good. I'll be honest. I don't really see it when I look at myself but I feel better overall and can fit into clothes that I haven't touched in years. Last year, we went on a couple bike rides and I was done pretty quickly. I took multiple breaks. This year I can go for 15-17 miles and only take a break once or twice. When I get home from a bike ride, I'm like....man I should have kept going.
You guys have had a very successful turnout for the Toss for a Cause event. How did you come up with this idea?
J: Two years ago around Homecoming I was beating myself up about how I couldn't make yet another TKE event and see everyone. I decided at that point I was going to make it to the next Founders Day. At this point it's been about six years since I've been active and have never been very active as an alumnus. I knew that getting involved with the Alumni Association and board wasn't for me at the time, but I wanted to be more involved and thought what I really enjoyed the most as an undergrad was being the Philanthropy chairman. I decided that I wanted to do a charity event for St. Jude, not just because it is our Fraternity's national philanthropy, but because my sister grew up with figure skating and she participated in many events for St. Jude. These events back then were hosted by the same radio station who we are partnered with today for the Toss for a Cause. After going to two different RLC's and two Conclaves and seeing St. Jude patients with their families, it was very moving to hear them speak about how the hospital has been there to help them through everything. If you want to see a huge conference room full of undergrads and alumni in tears, that was the way to do it. My wife and I may not have kids of our own yet nor do I personally know anyone who has dealt with childhood cancer, but knowing that a place like St. Jude exists is amazing. It is wonderful that the families who do go to St. Jude never have to worry about paying medical bills and they have a place to stay. It makes sure that the patients and their families only have to worry about one thing and that is getting their son or daughter the help they need. The daily operating expenses for St. Jude are over one million dollars. So what better charity to help raise money for than St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
How did the two of you decide to team up for this event? Did you work together in the chapter as actives?
J: It was actually back in the early stages of planning the event and I knew it would be difficult to do this alone. I reached out to several fraters in the area and asked if they would be interested in meeting up to discuss doing an event for St. Jude. Only two fraters responded and one of them was Spencer. This all started at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Rockford, Illinois. At the time, we were thinking about a knockout (lightning) tournament or dodgeball. After getting the clearance from St. Jude to do a dodgeball tournament, we decided to go with that because who didn't love dodgeball growing up? We thought it would be a great time.
J: After being committed to this idea for a couple months, we realized that it was going to be too hard to get enough teams together to make a good bracket for the tournament. It was going to be too hard to get people for teams of five or six. I was venting to my wife and my in-laws actually mentioned the idea of a bags tournament. It obviously only needs two people per team and almost everyone enjoyed playing. I personally remember playing bags in the TKE front yard a lot over my years as an undergraduate. At that point, I knew it was the way to go and ran the idea by Spencer. That's when our man Stylez had his amazing idea.
S: I'll tell ya...I could not be happier that Colt reached out to me about the event. It has seriously brought us closer than we have ever been. He is one of my best friends now for sure.
What were some of the obstacles in planning this event last year?
S: So we were having trouble thinking of how we were going to supply enough boards for the event. I did some networking with some of my Lowe's contacts and was able to get all of the wood, paint and various materials donated. Colt and myself then worked tirelessly in my garage for roughly 4-5 weeks in our down time. We made 12 sets of boards and hand painted each one with the St. Jude logo. Then we began to dive into the marketing world and tried to engage people. We definitely had some struggles our first year but we also learned a lot. This year, I took the networking further and now Lowe's is sponsoring our event, thus covering all the operating expenses.
What you two have created is truly amazing. Did you contact St. Jude during the initial planning or when did you make that contact?
J: I have been volunteering at the local radiothon (same radio station that is partnered with us now) for the past few years, so I already knew some of those people and a few St. Jude reps that came in from Chicago every year. I pitched her the idea and they were 100% on board. St. Jude recommended that I reach out to the radio station for help in promoting the event last year.
How did you guys feel after the success of last year's event?
S: We felt so proud after the event last year. There was so much anxiety as to whether the event would succeed. We had hundreds of hours of our time involved and over $1,000 of our own money invested. We had no clue if anyone was really going to show up beyond the teams that had registered. When people started pouring in and we were seeing fraternity members we hadn't seen in years, the word ecstatic would be an understatement. What really hit us the hardest was the massive praise and support we have received since last year's event has been ten-fold. We dealt with a lot of rejection last year and having people and TKE brothers be willing to help us is such a boost to morale.
Switching gears...who was the first Teke you met in Platteville?
J: Dan "Tonto" Schelberger...he went to the tech school that Tweek, Jax and myself went to but he graduated one year before us and transferred to UW-Platteville. When we transferred there, we decided to look him up.
S: The first Teke I met was Tyler "Rocky" Watson. He was Rush chairman during the semester that I pledged. I was a Rush chairman when Colt joined.
What is the greatest gift TKE was able to give you?
S: TKE was/is the family I've always been looking for. Knowing that I have brothers that would drop everything and help me out if needed is an amazing feeling. TKE is truly one of the best things that has happened to me!
J: I would say the greatest gift TKE has given me has been so many great brothers/friends and a lot of amazing memories. I had more Tekes in my wedding than friends from back home. I may not speak to a lot of the guys from when I was an undergrad but anytime there's a chance to get together, we always pick up like there was never any time apart.
What is the greatest gift you've given back to TKE?
S: Helping found the Toss for a Cause and donating our time and money to St. Jude in the name of TKE. It is now providing an opportunity for our brothers to meet up yearly and do good for others in need.
- Summer or winter? S: Summer/J: Summer
- Hunt or fish? S: Love both equally/J: I don't do either but would rather hunt.
- Cubs or White Sox? S: Cubs/J: Cubs
- Bacon or sausage? S: Definitely bacon/J: Sausage
- iPhone or Android? S: iPhone/J: Android
- Shorts or pants? S: Shorts/J: Shorts or birthday suit, haha