Convenience of BVU’s Online Classes Help Keep Busy Dad Home

Online coursework allowed Heath Richter to complete his master’s degree in BVU’s organizational leadership program. After three military deployments, the Black Hills Energy supervisor is grateful more for time with family.

For a busy father/supervisor, Buena Vista University’s online courses have been an academic godsend.

“One-hundred percent of my classes have been online through BVU,” says Heath Richter, of Spencer, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and, in this month, completed his master’s degree in BVU’s organizational leadership program. “Online classes have been the draw for me.”

“Ever since I decided to go to BVU to get my degree, the people there have been great to work with.”

Heath Richter

How full is Richter’s schedule? Consider the following:

  • He and wife, Connie Richter, a BVU alum who works for Northwest Bank, have four children; ages 17, 15, 12, and 9.
  • An operations supervisor for Black Hills Energy in Spencer, Richter supervises up to 18 employees and represents the organization in 18 Northwest Iowa communities.
  • He has served as a youth football coach; he’s president of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce; he’s a member of the Spencer Fine Arts Booster Board; he recently joined the Northwest Iowa Soccer Club Board of Directors; and he’s a past member of the Spencer Municipal Library Board.
  • A veteran with 21 years of service in the Iowa Army National Guard, Richter completed three year-long deployments in Indiana, Kosovo, and Afghanistan, where he decided, in the middle of a combat tour with the U.S. Army Infantry, to return to BVU to earn his bachelor’s degree.

“Ever since I decided to go to BVU to get my degree, the people there have been great to work with,” he says. “Whenever I had a question, someone like Peggy Bates either had the answer or pointed me in the right direction. I cannot tell you how seamless the process was there.”

BVU instructors were always willing to work with him on a flexible schedule, ever mindful of the demands Richter had for his time and attention. The convenience of online instruction was welcomed as it allowed Richter to be at home most evenings with Connie and their children.

“I was gone for three years in military deployments,” he says, noting he’s been away from home enough. “My wife is a saint for what she’s done for me and our family.”

Now that Richter has his master’s degree, he knows he’ll be better equipped to serve Black Hills Energy, which provides and distributes natural gas in seven states, including Iowa.

“I’m a throwback to the Baby Boomers in that I’m extremely loyal to my employer,” Richter says. “Having a master’s helps give me the instruction and the background as I attempt to one day become a director or a vice president here.”