Mr. Chuck Wachendorfer - Class of 1978
December 22, 2020
Chuck Wachendorfer, Class of 1978
This month’s alumni spotlight features Mr. Chuck Wachendorfer from the Class of 1978. Chuck Wachendorfer characterizes his journey as one that often took the road less traveled. His eventual success in business and the opportunities that manifested were born out of a variety of experiences and a lot of self-realization along the way. Today, Chuck takes much of his experience to help executives and business leaders carve their own paths of success.
Chuck began his Catholic education attending St. Jerome Catholic Grade School. He spent his freshman year of high school at Brophy College Preparatory before transferring to Bourgade his sophomore year in search of a new experience. While at Bourgade, Chuck took full advantage of the opportunity to participate in a multitude of programs including student government, drama, baseball and basketball. Chuck shared that he has always been fond of Bourgade’s ability to allow students to be successful, highlighting that, through Bourgade, he developed a sense of confidence and determination.
After graduating from Bourgade, Chuck’s fondness for math and the footprints of his father’s long-time engineering career paved a natural pathway toward mechanical engineering. Chuck attended Northern Arizona University earning his degree and landing a job at Texas Instruments straight out of college. Chuck eventually realized that he wasn’t getting much fulfillment out of his engineering. Being young, single and willing to take some risk, he set his sights on financial advising landing a position at American Express. Early on without much to show in the way of success, Chuck found himself questioning why others in his office seemed to be thriving, yet he couldn’t elevate himself. This self-realization would be exactly what he needed to turn things around and his professional accomplishments would begin to grow.
In 2003, Chuck was looking back at a 17-year career at American Express that included the building of 10 divisional offices across 7 states. His portfolio included management of 500+ employees and an estimated $5 billion in company assets. Next to his NAU engineering degree was now a degree from Harvard’s business school and a strong reputation for being the go-to guy for helping turn around struggling divisions within the company. On his long list of turnarounds, Chuck’s most impressive may have been at the end of his American Express career when he helped transform Detroit’s division into one of the most profitable in the company’s history, immediately after a massive 150-employee exodus from the company.
On the heels of his success at American Express, Chuck was interested in a new career path that would not only allow him to use his skill set to help others succeed, but also give him the flexibility to enjoy his hobbies and his family life. In 2002, some of Chuck’s colleagues from American Express ventured to start Think2Perform, a company dedicated to professional coaching and leadership consulting for business leaders and executives. In 2003, Chuck joined the Think2Perform team as President of Distribution helping serve a clientele that includes Fortune 100 firms, major league sports franchises and high-profile business schools. Chuck’s role with Think2Perform has given him the flexibility to make a tremendous impact for clients around the world, while traveling or enjoying the comfort of his home city, Denver, Colorado.
Among all his successes, Chuck says that his proudest accomplishments are raising his kids to be independent thinkers, helping build Think2Perform into a thriving business and staying true to himself along his journey. When asked if he had any advice to offer to current students or even alumni who may be entrenched in their own journeys, Chuck offered, “Be thoughtful about where you want your life to end up. Think about the person you want to be, how you spend your time and who you spend your time with.”
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