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2019 Men of the Year: Brad Bodenhausen

Missouri State University

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An exchange program through Rotary International changed the trajectory of Brad Bodenhausen’s life – personally, professional and educationally.

He says the monthlong stay in northern Sweden in 1997 shifted his career to international relations and led him to pursue his master’s in global studies at Missouri State University.

“My primary focus during the past 20 years has been to encourage and promote positive international relations at the community level,” he says.

He’s accomplishing that mission today as associate vice president of international education and training at MSU, a role he’s held since 2017, along with serving as director of the school’s International Leadership and Training Center since 2013.

When he joined the university, Bodenhausen was tasked with building the ILTC. He says the initial goal was to provide noncredit training programs for international professionals visiting the region. The center has since grown to also organize customized, for-credit programs for international students in the fields of agriculture, biotechnology, entrepreneurship and health care.

“We’ve been able to provide international education to hundreds of students and connect them with practical and cultural experiences,” he says. “Jim Baker, vice president for research, economic development and international programs at MSU, has known Bodenhausen for over 20 years.

“Under Brad’s outstanding leadership, the ILTC has become a multimillion-dollar enterprise at Missouri State University and has led to the infusion of millions of dollars into the local economy,” Baker says. “He is passionate about his work at the university, as well as his love for the city of Springfield.”

Prior to his career at MSU, Bodenhausen worked at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce for over 20 years, starting as vice president of public affairs in 1993. While in that role, he began the community leadership visit program where government officials and business leaders visit another city to gather ideas for community betterment. He says over his tenure, he organized 20 such visits.

“Those visits allowed hundreds of participants to gain a shared perspective on the opportunities to improve the Springfield region,” he says.

While also at the Springfield chamber, Bodenhausen was a champion for campaigns to improve infrastructure, such as road and intersection improvements, school facility upgrades and establishing Jordan Valley Park. He also established the International Business Council, serving as a fellow with the Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce in Santiago, Chile, in the summer of 2011.

A focus on international relations also is evident in his civic accomplishments, having served as the immediate past president of the Springfield Sister Cities Association and helping to establish the Southeast Rotary Club’s “twin club” in Tlaquepaque, Mexico.

He says all of his experiences have been fueled by a commitment to make southwest Missouri a better place to live and work.

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