Alumni Spotlight: Aaron Richards `09

Graceland alum Aaron Richards `09

Graceland grad Aaron Richards ʼ11 lives in Orange, California, with his wife, Leigh Richards `12, their one-and-a-half-year-old son, Owen, and long-haired miniature dachshund, Rudy. For Richards, there was never another option considered outside of Graceland University for his college experience. He knew from the time he was a child that Graceland was the place for him.

"It is a legacy. My brothers, parents, grandparents and other family members attended Graceland. Hearing all the stories growing up impressed me so deeply, I didn’t even apply to any other colleges."

Earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in management and minor in communications, Richards uses the knowledge he gained in his business courses – specifically operations management and organizational behavior – to successfully lead his team as quality assurance manager for States Logistics. He and his team deploy continuous improvement projects throughout their operations in Southern California and Phoenix, working to improve processes, cut out waste and create a more efficient operation empowering employees to help problem solve alongside their team.”

From his time on “the Hill,” Richards says he hit the lottery when he met his wife, Leigh. He also gained a lot of experience on his residence hall, especially taking advantage of leadership opportunities. In fact, his advice to current students is to get involved in their residence hall. Richards belonged to Closson House – the same house both his brothers were in – and shares that the house system played the largest role in his “education” at Graceland. He served as intramural representative his sophomore year, house president his junior year and Graceland Student Government (GSG) Community Outreach Coordinator his senior year, which Richards describes as irreplaceable experience leading, working with all walks of life, managing a budget, understanding how to handle stress and responsibility, conducting business with community leaders and many other skills.

The connections Richards continues to make through Graceland have made a profound impact on his life both personally and professionally – they are invaluable. He stays in touch almost daily with friends he and his wife made at Graceland. Close friend Daniel Harmon meets Richards nearly daily for their early morning runs. Harmon and his wife made a move to California and linked up with Richards through their Community of Christ congregation where Harmon pastors and Aaron and Leigh remain very involved and engage in humanitarian causes.

Richards is a product of the history of Graceland. He hopes to see his son and any future children follow in the footsteps of the family legacy someday. This little family loves the Southern California weather and where they live. Their desire is many more years of hiking, running, camping and going to the beach together. And professionally, Richards is excited to see where the logistics/supply chain field takes him.