Paul Secord
Paul Secord
Age 35  |  Director of development, Drake University

Owning and managing a restaurant on top of working a high-level job at Drake University might seem like a tough balancing act, but Paul Secord has a way of dealing with it.

“Really, I don’t sleep a lot,” Secord said.

To be fair, the real credit, he said, goes to the general manager, the kitchen manager and all the others who run day-to-day operations at Shane’s Rib Shack in Clive.

Secord’s primary focus is his job at Drake, where he is helping lead the university’s $200 million comprehensive campaign. His role, as he describes it, is serving as an advocate for Drake’s team of fund-raisers and event planners.

A native of the Boston area and a graduate of Boston College, Secord came to Iowa in 2006 after he, his wife and his young daughter visited his sister, who had recently moved to the state. He opened Shane’s in September, but realized after about five months that running a restaurant full time wasn’t for him.

Secord wanted to be involved in what he called a “renaissance“ going on in Des Moines, and saw a job at Drake as the way to do that.

His mentor and boss, Drake’s vice president for alumni and development, John Smith, said, “All I saw was a resume with fingerprints of barbecue sauce all over it,” but after a couple of days, he realized the value of the experience Secord had as a fund-raiser and leader with Lahey Clinic and Babson College in the Boston area.

“I just love the impact that philanthropy has,” Secord said. “You walk across campus, you see the students that are there, and you know they are there because of scholarship dollars that are going out, or the additions or renovations, or professors that are there because of their endowed chairs. I know it sounds cliche, but it really just feels good to be a part of it.”

Secord, through Shane’s Rib Shack’s community outreach, donates approximately $50,000 annually to more than 200 charities. He also serves on the board of the Iowa Sustaining Parent Involvement Network for Westridge Elementary School in West Des Moines.