That’s why he has made it a priority to give back to the campus each year with a donation to the annual fund.
“I’ve heard it said for those who have a lot, a lot is expected of them. That’s why I give to Missouri State-West Plains. Had it not been for the West Plains campus, I don’t think I would have stayed in college,” he said in a recent interview.
Thieman grew up on his family’s farm near Lamar, Missouri and knew after graduating high school that attending college at a large campus in a metropolitan area wasn’t for him. Missouri State-West Plains, however, offered a small campus with a small-town atmosphere.
“I came to West Plains because it was a small,” he explained. “I was still on the fence trying to decide between a degree in agriculture or construction management and I knew I could focus on my basics there.”
He admits his first semester in fall 2002 was difficult. “I almost didn’t make it through. I wanted to go home so badly, but everyone there was so supportive and it really made a difference for me,” he explained.
The support helped Thieman achieve his Associate of Arts in General Studies degree in May 2005 and prompted him to continue his education at Missouri State University in Springfield, where he completed a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, with a major in Construction Management and a minor in Agribusiness, in 2008.
Immediately after graduation, he received a job offer as project engineer from Elkhorn Construction in Evanston, Wyo., which provides plant construction and maintenance solutions to the oil and gas industries, as well as pipeline services. He was then promoted to area manager for the company’s ConocoPhillips maintenance contract, overseeing seven supervisors and 70 to 80 employees who provided maintenance and construction of the ConocoPhillips pipelines and terminals throughout the Midwest.
Just a few months ago, Thieman joined Rooney Engineering, Inc., a Denver, Colo.-based company specializing in petroleum, natural gas and water pipeline transmission projects. He serves as a construction manager out of the company’s Casper, Wyo., office, working on pipeline construction and demolition projects for Enbridge Pipeline.
“Had it not been for the education I received at both campuses, I would not be in the position I am today to give back,” Thieman said. “I truly believe in giving back as much as you can.”