Ralph Biele, former SOMO board member and founder of Missouri Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, and Mark Musso

Job description:

I oversee statewide operations serving more than 15,000 athletes while conducting more than 320 events annually and managing 40 staff members in six offices.

Education:

MBA in organizational behavior and a bachelor’s in management from Wichita State University.

Professional background:

I have 46 years of involvement with Special Olympics in Kansas, Minnesota, and Missouri. I’m the former Special Olympics Minnesota president, and I was the games operations director of the 1991 International Special Olympics Summer Games. I have been in my current position since 1991.

Tell us about yourself:

I was a proud basketball official for 31 years and more than 3,000 games — now retired! I do what I say I’m going to do. I show up on time. I never play favorites. I take care of my friends and family. I say what I think, and I stand up for our National Anthem with my hand on my heart, always!    

Why I’m passionate about what I do:

Since the first Special Olympics event I attended in 1972 as a freshman in high school, I knew my involvement could help change lives for the rest of my life.

What people should know about what I do:

All of us at SOMO facilitate the interaction between our athletes, volunteers, families, and fans. In the process, we are all blessed to spend time with our athletes as they teach us how to live life to the fullest.

Why I’m passionate about my community:

Jefferson City is an incredible sports community that fully engages in support and commitment to sports events. SOMO couldn’t be in a better sports city in Missouri.

Tell us about the new Training for Life Campus:

The TLC is the finest Special Olympics training and wellness campus in the world. There are programs in more than 170 countries, and our campus is the only one of its kind.

What’s next?

The TLC “back nine” will house a softball field, two tennis courts, four bocce courts, two horseshoe pits, shotput, and the law enforcement torch run pavilion. Once we raise the $2 million needed, we will complete the back nine.

If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would:

I have been blessed to have the greatest career I could ever imagine. There is nothing I would rather have done.

What I do for fun:

I am an avid Parrot Head, so I get to many Jimmy Buffett concerts. I have many other hobbies but don’t find time to enjoy them at this point, as my four grandchildren are my top priority and will be for the rest of my time.

Family:

Two children, Andria and Michael, and their spouses, Greg and Haylee. There are four grandchildren between them, Ramsie, Loxlie, Camden, and Kelvie, and one significant other, Brenda.

Favorite place in Jefferson City:

Trick question — the Training for Life Campus!

Accomplishment I’m most proud of:

In 1991, I told the search committee I would stay in the job for at least three years, and I just celebrated my 27th work anniversary.

Most people don’t know that I:

I was our college mascot, WuShock, while in graduate school at Wichita State.

Last book you read:

“Eunice,” the story of our founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Favorite app:

It’s a tie between Trip Advisor and Waze.

Favorite comfort food:

Ribs that I spent the day smoking.

Favorite musical artist of the moment:

Jimmy Buffett. Source of inspiration: The tens of thousands of Special Olympics Athletes I have worked for in Kansas, Minnesota, and Missouri

Total
67
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