By Marisa Ortega, Editor
Photo from Marisa Ortega
On October 12th, I had the honor of attending a presentation by Joe Koppeis, along with other students, about how he got to be where he is today. Joe Koppeis is an entrepreneur from Columbia, Illinois and is a current McKendree University Board of Trustee member. He is the owner and president of Admiral Parkway, Inc. along with developing, owning and operating several office buildings, shopping centers and supermarkets. He also owns Ace Hardware franchises, Domino’s Pizza franchises, and Holiday Inn & Express Hotel & Suites across Southern Illinois. Mr. Koppeis is a very successful man, but that isn’t to say he hasn’t had challenges in life and even hit rock bottom.
At the young age of 13, he started working in the grocery store business. A few years later, he opened up his own store in Columbia and was the owner and manager before selling his store to Schnucks. Although Mr. Koppeis has no formal education, struggled to graduate high school, and did not receive a college degree, he was able to work hard to get where he is. With his business being an IGA grocery store in 1982, he has definitely come a long way. In the presentation, he explained how he had many failures and successes but still managed to keep his head up.
“I am a believer in if you do what’s good, good things will happen to you,” said Mr. Koppeis during his speech. When it comes to helping others, he is a strong believer in being there for his employees.
Overall, Mr. Joe Koppeis isn’t afraid to say to ask others for help. In his field of work, there have been tough jobs with some rough bosses who he managed to learn from and even became mentors to.
“If I can do it, you can do it,” is something he stated to the audience. It goes for everyone: do not be afraid to put yourself out there, no matter what little experience you may have. One lesson Mr. Joe Koppeis has for all the future entrepreneurs out there is: “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and take chances.” One piece of advice he has to be successful is: “You have to be willing to work harder than it has to be and be ready to lose it all but most off to learn from every mistake and loss made along the way.”