BVU Dad Aims to be First Doctor in the Family
Kevin Pernick departed the West Coast, ultimately landing in northwest Iowa with a position at a local bank. Along the way, he earned a BVU bachelor’s degree in banking and finance, then a master’s degree.
Kevin Pernick’s trek to his BVU master’s degree in organizational leadership began in a café in Sacramento, California.
“I needed somewhere safe for my kids to grow up,” he says, remembering a dinner conversation. “We were living in a rough area.”
Pernick '17/MS '19 and family departed the West Coast, ultimately landing in northwest Iowa in 2005 as he earned a position with Bank Plus, which has locations in Estherville, Graettinger, Swea City, and Ledyard. He eventually served as chief financial officer before being named president/CEO in January 2019.
Along the way, he earned a BVU bachelor’s degree in banking and finance, then a master’s degree.
Pernick earned his first post-secondary diploma at Iowa Lakes Community College. He then turned his attention to the BVU bachelor’s degree program offered online.
“The applicability of the coursework to what I was doing with coworkers at the bank was phenomenal.”
“The applicability of the coursework to what I was doing with coworkers at the bank was phenomenal,” he says. “Some of the best experiences I had took place in classes that had nothing to do with banking and finance. I took a sports management class to fill a general education requirement and it rejuvenated me as we took this incredibly different way of looking at leadership.”
Pernick graduated magma cum laude in 2017. He then started work on his master’s, and relished digging into theory behind decision-making models, finding ways to apply those models to his workplace.
“One of the things I firmly believe in is that a good leader should be the leader their follower needs,” Pernick says. “The more I can learn the more I can adapt. A truly successful leader is fluid and must adjust to meet followers where they need to be.”
His study culminated with a capstone paper: “Enhancing Employee Motivation Through Vision and Communications.”
“Dr. Mary Gill (Organizational Leadership program director) pushed me to do better than I thought I could,” he says. “She and other faculty helped me stay motivated and focused.”
Pernick, who is raising four children with his wife, Jenny, never missed time with his family as a result of his research. In fact, he served as a coach with the Lakes Area Youth Trap Club in addition to his CEO duties and that of a BVU master’s degree student.
There’s going to more post-secondary activity in the Pernick house, as the family’s oldest child, Kiaya, follows dad’s lead in heading to college. She’s going to the University of Iowa to study neuroscience.
“Kiaya will be a doctor someday,” her father says with pride.
She won’t likely be the first in the family, however, as Kevin signed up for classes again and now pursues a doctorate in education in interdisciplinary leadership at Creighton University.
“I’ll be the first doctor in my family,” he says. “And Kiaya will be right behind me.”