Forty Under 40: Charley Campbell
General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Kum & Go LC
Friday, March 07, 2014 7:00 AM
Charley Campbell’s story is unusual, in that his love of the law grew from a teacher who didn’t much care for the law himself.
Mentor: Kyle Krause, president and CEO of Kum & Go LC
Campbell once won a small-claims case without speaking a single word. People think lawyers talk a lot but “In that case, I literally just stood there and let the plaintiff bury herself.”
“I had a chemistry teacher in high school who used to be a lawyer, but for whatever reason, he didn’t love the practice of law, so he went back to teaching,” Campbell said. “Still, he taught chemistry using the Socratic method, and he saw that was something I excelled in.”
It was a love that refused to let Campbell go. He went to Iowa State University to study engineering, switching to finance his junior year because he was more interested in the business side of mathematics and science. After helping his fraternity purchase a house, Campbell said he realized just how much he enjoyed the legal side as well.
Campbell’s career in law was fostered at Kum & Go, where he started as an intern in May 2000. Even before that he was chosen by his college peers to sit on the company’s board of directors for a semester. He met the Krause family and after reaching out, landed his internship with the company, where he worked his way through law school.
He calls his 14 years with the company an “amazing experience.”
“I was blessed by someone else’s willingness to give time and money to college kids,” Campbell said. “The opportunities I’ve been given here have just been a blessing.”
Campbell and his wife, Nicole, have four children, and he jokes that he’s passionate about “whatever they’re passionate about.” Aside from that, his goal is to give back through organizations that share his values.
Campbell also was influenced as a child by his grandfather, who was a music publisher in Oskaloosa. He plays trumpet and currently performs at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines.
“I think being involved in the arts and having a creative side helps me look at the world a little differently than most lawyers or executives,” Campbell said. “I try to find creative solutions to whatever it is I’m doing.”
Reasons he’s a Forty:
• Honored with Kum & Go’s 2009 Values Award for Integrity and its 2012 Founders Award.
• Recipient of the 2013 Association of Corporate Counsel Value Champion Award.
• Serves on the board of directors of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association.
• Volunteers as a YMCA youth basketball coach and is a member of Lutheran Church of Hope’s orchestra, Christmas Cantata, and Omega Horns Brass Group.
• Guest speaker for the Drake Law School Business Law Club and Iowa State University College of Business Gerdin Citizenship Program.
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