I AM UAA: Max Bullock

February 20, 2013

I AM UAA: Max BullockBusiness Management, Class of 2015
Hometown: Butte, Mont., and Anchorage, Alaska
Fun Fact: He’s a self-proclaimed gym rat and won the bodybuilding title Mr. Junior Alaska in 2011 and got 2nd place in Overall Men’s Physique.

If you ever think you don’t have enough hours in the day, meet Max Bullock. It’s not that he doesn’t think he has a long enough day; we’re putting words in his mouth because we’re simply blown away by how much this sophomore puts on his plate. All good things. And all done with a smile.

To start with, Max is involved in student government as a USUAA senator. He was elected his freshman year. He also works part-time in the Student Union while taking 17 credits and interning in the mayor’s office eight hours a week. Yes, the mayor of Anchorage, Dan Sullivan.

Max and the MayorOn the side, he is conspiring (again, in a good way) to start a 7-on-7 football club and a wrestling club (two sports he loved in high school) with a few friends. He is also the president of a group of students working to instate a new Greek fraternity on campus, Tau Kappa Epsilon (they have chapters in every state but Alaska).

Oh, right, and he owns his own business, Alaska Aviation Snow Management, sweeping snow off of small planes during the winter time. He only has a small pool of clients so far (mostly family friends) because of insurance liability costs, but he’s working on a solution in order to grow.

As you get to know more about Max’s background and family, it quickly becomes clear that he wouldn’t settle for anything less than being busy and being involved.

His father is an entrepreneur, with businesses in Montana and Alaska (including partnering with Max on Alaska Aviation Snow Management), and his mother is a very successful environmental engineer. Max jokes that his own first business venture was when he was 5 years old and he charged his dad’s employees a toll (five cents) to get upstairs to their attic where they ran a small start-up engineering firm. (Pioneer Technical Services—it’s now the second largest Montana-based engineering firm. Max’s goal is to become CEO within the next 15 years, and if not at Pioneer Technical then at another Fortune 500 company.) The punchline to Max’s toll-collection start-up? His dad would give payers their money back in good humor by stocking a jar of change for them to use.

Max in Ohio

Max says, “My dad tells me every day, ‘Have a great day, and make the world a better place.'” They have tentative plans to enlist in the Peace Corps together to focus on sustainable energy and clean water solutions in countries abroad.

Max’s uncle, Steve Bullock, just took office as Montana’s governor in January 2013. That’s where Max gets his penchant for politics.

“I don’t really like politics, but what I really wanted to do was be a voice for students in a way and actually help out,” Max says of why he ran for USUAA senator. “I heard a lot of complaints around me, and as a young kid, my mom always told me, ‘If you’re not willing to change anything, then you can’t complain about it.’ So I decided to join student government to try and make a difference. It’s helped me get more involved in the university, and it’s helped me to meet tons of people.”

Max is the acorn lying not far from the oak trees in his life. And by lying we mean digging in his own roots, making his own connections and growing his own future.

“My parents, they come from very poor backgrounds on both sides,” Max says, “and they’ve worked very, very hard to get where they are today. They have instilled in me the same work ethic that they have.” And that includes paying his own way through college as much as possible.

Hence the part-time job, but Max was also in the first round of high school seniors in 2011 to be awarded the Alaska Performance Scholarship. He often works construction in the summers back in Montana to earn money for college as well.

So what advice would he give to others early in their college careers?

“You know, I’ve been asking students that in a survey question,” Max laughs. “One of the big things that I would say is to get involved in the community, to get involved with campus, but to limit your involvement so you can focus on academics and focus on not just being involved, but what you do with your involvement. It’s not about how many organizations you’re part of, it’s about what you’re doing in those organizations.”

Max and Spirit
Max and Spirit at the 2012 Green & Gold Gala

We like that: quality, not quantity. And Max mentions his friend, Bruce Schultz, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, whom he’s met through being involved in student government and who always makes a point to ask Max about his grades and encourages him to be successful in everything. Academics first.

“A big thing at UAA, too, is to just say hello to anyone that you see,” Max continues. “There’s a definite feeling of a commuter school here at UAA, but I feel like that’s in a state a flux to turn it into a traditional university, and I think that starts with the state of mind of the students.”

Max and teh Cheerleaders

Hopefully Max’s state of mind is contagious. Whether its gaining traction on a new bike-share program on campus, participating on the UAA Cheer Squad to help boost school spirit at athletic events, or just saying hi or loaning you his pen—Max is in the right state of mind. We can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

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