Research Assistant, Ozarks Technical Community College
Co-founder, Five Pound Apparel
Even relaxing involves multi-tasking for Matthew Simpson—it’s simply what he does best. As a research assistant for Ozarks Technical Community College and co-founder of Springfield’s humanitarian clothing store, Five Pound Apparel, much of Simpson’s life consists of being efficiently busy. Constantly aiming to “leave the campground a better place” has guided Simpson’s work ever since his father literally made him and his brother pick up others’ trash around campsites at a young age. A practice he once detested now sustains his efforts.
With two political science degrees under his belt, Simpson has been an innovative force in supporting OTC’s work towards developing the new equity funding formula used by Missouri’s community colleges while working with the strategic enrollment management and governmental relations teams. “I’m curious and impatient, so when I have the chance to learn something or solve a problem, I’m driven to do so as best and as quickly as I can,” Simpson says. This drive has inspired the Missouri State University alumnus to run for Springfield’s school board and serve on the Greene County University of Missouri Extension Council. When Simpson isn’t involving himself in civic affairs, he can be found spending time with his wife, Teresa, and cheering for Missouri State athletic teams along with the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. –D.D.
417 Magazine: Why do you think you were nominated to be a 20 Under 30?
Matthew Simpson: I’ve simply done my best to take advantage of opportunities I’ve received thanks to the support of my family, friends, colleagues and community. I hope that I can repay even a portion of this support throughout my career.
417: How did you end up at your current job/profession?
M.S.: Moving back to Springfield I saw a job opening that would allow me to use my research skills in a way that would provide actionable information and the folks at Ozarks Technical Community College were kind enough to take a chance on someone fresh out of grad school. My foresight in choosing a younger brother who would start a business also gave me the chance to serve as a co-founder and Chief Information Officer for Five Pound Apparel.
417: Where do you find passion to do what you do?
M.S.: I’m curious and impatient, so when I have the chance to learn something or solve a problem I’m driven to do so as best and as quickly as I can. My greatest joy, though, comes from helping to “leave the campground a better place” as my Dad says. To me this means that wherever you are or whatever you are doing you always try to make things better for others; This purpose sustains my efforts.
417: Are you single/married, and do you have any kids?
M.S.: I’m happily married to Teresa Simpson. We met at Missouri State, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, and married in June 2007. We don’t have kids yet.
417: What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
M.S.: Whenever I have the chance you will find me at JQH Arena, Plaster Sports Complex or Hammons Field joining my friends in cheering on the Bears. I also enjoy reading, movies and long walks in the woods.
417: Are you involved in any charitable organizations?
M.S.: I’m a member of Friends of the Garden and the Downtown Springfield Association.
417: Are you a member of any professional organizations?
M.S.: I’m a member of the Missouri Community College Association, Association for Institutional Research and Mid-American Association for Institutional Research where I was just awarded the annual Joe Saupe Award for Best First-Time Presenter.
417: How would you define the secret to success?
M.S.: Enjoy what you do, never stop learning and don’t take yourself too seriously.
417: What’s your favorite thing about your career?
M.S.: The great people I get to work with as well as the opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives at OTC and in the community with Five Pound Apparel.
417: If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
M.S.: Buy less soda and junk food then use the savings to invest in Google.
417: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
M.S.: Second baseman for the Kansas City Royals and/or President.
417: List three traits that define a successful career:
M.S.: Passion, sincerity and competence.
417: Why are you a 20 Under 30?
M.S.: I’ve simply done my best to take advantage of opportunities I’ve received thanks to the support of my family, friends, colleagues and community. I hope that I can repay even a portion of this support throughout my career.
417: What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
M.S.: We have just launched a new product line at Five Pound Apparel that lets us partner with a new charitable organization each month to create a limited edition shirt supporting their efforts. I’m very excited about some of the forthcoming partnerships through this that are currently in the works.
417: What completed project are you most proud of?
M.S.: The opportunity to provide data support for OTC’s efforts in developing a new equity funding formula.
417: _____ makes life worth living.
417: A day at work wouldn’t be complete without _____.
M.S.: Trying to make a difference.
417: Ten years from now, I hope I’m _____.
M.S.: Driving a flying car.
417: If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would _____.
M.S.: Endow scholarships and rebuild Hydra Slide.
417: The best part about being a 20 Under 30 is _____.
M.S.: Thanking those who supported me.