This year marks our 75th Anniversary. To celebrate, we’re publishing 75 stories about members of our community. Kevin Maes, a community member who has recently completed his Executive Leadership Certificate at the Wisconsin School of Business Center for Professional & Executive Development, has propelled his career path by expanding his skillset with leadership development.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Kevin has a degree in geography from the University of Minnesota. Kevin has lived in Madison for the last 20 years, 19 of which he spent working for a regional telecommunications company as a regional manager. In 2017, Kevin attended his first CPED program, Leadership Beyond Management, which inspired him to take his career to the next level.
“Leadership Beyond Management really changed my outlook on what my career could be. At the end of the program when my classmates were graduating, I was inspired and knew I wanted to complete the Executive Leadership Certificate, too. I spent the next 18 months working hard at it and I am so glad I did.”
As a result of his Executive Leadership Certificate completion, Kevin decided to take his new skillset into a different career opportunity. In July 2019 he made a big career change and is now the vice president of engineering at Millennium Geospatial, a growing new business based in Madison. “I learned so much while completing my certificate, both about myself and what I wanted to do with my career. I took a hard look at what I was doing and knew I was ready for something more. Thank you to the team at CPED for helping me see that in myself.”
When he’s not working, Kevin loves spending time with his wife and their son. He is an avid fly fisherman and enjoys spending time in the great outdoors.
Kevin said of all the programs he took at CPED, Business Acumen and Strategy was his favorite program. “We learned so much about strategy in that program and that really resonated with me. We had great conversations about decision making and how that leads to strategy, which brings success or failure of a business. It took my thinking and my outlook on growth and strategy to the next level, and my new role allows me to think more that way as well.”
One aspect of his new role that Kevin enjoys most is working closely with college students and young professionals. He used what he learned about his own leadership style in Leadership Beyond Management to help them grow into leaders. “I hire and develop young employees from the ground up so there’s a lot of training on my end that I really enjoy. I always encourage young professionals to keep learning. I learned more at 40 than I did when I was in my 20s and I’m grateful for that. Take advantage of the opportunities in front of you and lead wherever you can. Having leadership skills and working to improve them is so important. When I was in Leadership Beyond Management, we had to study our 360 assessments. The feedback is initially scary but ultimately so helpful. If you lean into what you’re being told (about yourself) and commit to that growth, you’ll benefit from it. Be driven to learn how to be a leader, give it time, and you will get better at it.”