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Dowagiac native named to Moody on the Market’s 40 Under 40

DOWAGIAC — As a parent, supervisor, coach, community organizer and more, Terry Groth wears many hats in the Dowagiac community.

He can now add awards recipient to his list of acknowledgments.

The Dowagiac native was recently named to Moody on the Market’s 40 Under 40 list for 2020. The 40 Under 40 is a prestigious recognition program reserved for young professionals living and working in southwest Michigan under the age of 40, according to the Moody on the Market website.

“I was nominated the year before, but I didn’t get it,” Groth said. “I got the email a few weeks ago from Pat Moody himself, which was pretty cool to see.”

A class of 2000 graduate of Dowagiac Union High School, Groth earned an associate of science degree at Southwestern Michigan College before earning both his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and masters’ in engineering management at Western Michigan University. He is currently an engineering supervisor for the Cook Nuclear Plant for design engineering. According to its website, the plant generates more than 2,000 megawatts of electricity to serve the needs of Indiana Michigan Power customers.

“I’m in charge of a group of individuals, both American Electric Power workers and also contract workers, that develop modifications, calculations and other evaluations for mechanical equipment at the plant,” Groth said. “I make sure that our systems are within the licensing basis that the nuclear regulatory commission defines.”

Groth joined the Dowagiac Union School Board of Education in 2018 as a trustee and now serves as the board secretary for 2020. As a parent of a student in the district, being a voice for his fellow parents inspired him to join.

“I looked at the board profile. Of the people on the board, there were a few parents on the board, but the majority weren’t,” Groth said. “I really wanted to get on the board to have a voice for the parents in the district. Sometimes you get a little pushback from other board members, but I need to have that voice for my fellow parents because I don’t know what everybody’s going through and each situation is different. Several parents have come to me and expressed their support.  If they have questions, I’ve listened to try to help and at least hear their side. I’m listening to them and trying to take their input into consideration. I mean, I think that’s one of the most important things. No matter if you’re a school board member, a city councilman or all the way up to the highest levels of government, they need to listen to their constituents.”

In addition to his board of education duties, Groth serves as a board member of the Southwestern Michigan College Foundation and is also the treasurer for the Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac. He also volunteers as a youth football and baseball coach. Taking a hands-on approach to serving the community is something Groth strives for.

“When I went to Western Michigan for college, I lived in Kalamazoo for a few years, and you know, there’s a lot of stuff there, and it’s great,” Groth said. “But I just don’t like a big community. I didn’t know people. I feel like knowing people is important for a community to thrive and do well.  I just want to make it a better place. Getting on the school board has a much larger impact on the future of our children in the district as well as serving in other capacities.”

Through his service in the community, Groth is making an impact on the present. He also has goals for both himself and the city of Dowagiac for the future.

“I’d like to move up the ladder at work,” he said. “The next step would be manager or the director, and so on. My career goal is to be an engineering manager or even maybe working in one of the other departments, just to learn how the other aspects of the plant operate. For the community, one of the things that inspired me was the community’s support of the bonds for the school improvements. They were long overdue, and I was glad to see that change. I’d like to continue to see the schools improve testing and student growth.”

Groth has appreciated the community’s involvement in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year has been tough,” he said. “With last year having to pick a new superintendent and then the global pandemic, everyone is struggling but continuing to support. We couldn’t hold some of the events that we have with those particular groups without the involvement of the community, and I hope the community knows that a lot of people appreciate that, especially the kids.”

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