Alumni Profile: Jason Hagadone
Hometown: Townsend, Montana
Graduation Year: 2008
Major: Business Administration
Current Occupation: VP Business Lending, Altana Federal Credit Union
Why did you choose Rocky Mountain College?
I visited Rocky numerous times for basketball and football camps when I was in high school. I really liked the campus and Billings; I felt at home while I was there. I liked the smaller class sizes that Rocky had to offer and I liked their placement rate after college. I was also able to continue playing football. Plus, it was close enough that I could run home for a weekend and get a couple of home cooked meals.
Who influenced you the most while you were at Rocky? How did they influence you?
I had numerous people influence me while I was at Rocky. James “Doc” McDowell was one person that always made you justify your thought process. He was always willing to share his adventures from the weekend or summer to show that the professors had a personal side to share as well. Joe Levens was a great coach for me when I got to Rocky. He made me believe in my abilities as an athlete and taught me to think of my teammates first rather than myself. That still informs my leadership style today. James Smith had to be the most influential person for me while at Rocky and he still is today. I really enjoyed James’ classes. He always had the topic or project relate back to the real world, not our textbooks. He brings in business leaders from the community to share their successes and failures and to give current juniors and seniors a glimpse at the real world before they leave Rocky and maybe even introduce them to a future employer. As my advisor, he really pushed me to stretch my comfort level and make sure I had a well-rounded education to prepare me for life after college. We still meet once or twice a year to catch up on life, work, and families. I really appreciated his guidance while I was at Rocky and his friendship now.
What is your favorite memory from your time as a student at Rocky?
I developed a lot of great friendships at Rocky. Long bus rides across Montana to La Grande, Oregon gives you time to make those connections with people. I stay in touch with quite a few teammates from college. We reflect on a lot of memories we had on and off the field when we get together for a Battlin’ Bears game in the fall or meet for a couple cocktails at Buck’s Bar.
What was the most important thing you learned while attending Rocky?
Show up prepared and be ready to work. There were a lot of early mornings, demanding schedules of classes, workouts, etc. I had to manage my time effectively and be present in all settings. If I didn’t put in the work, it showed and the professors and coaches made sure to let me know I had fallen short of their expectations.
Please describe your educational and career path.
I graduated High School from Townsend, Montana and started at Rocky in the fall of 2003. I always knew I wanted to be a business major. There were so many opportunities with that degree I knew I couldn’t go wrong. At different times throughout my time at Rocky, I seconded guessed that decision, mainly during stats one particularly grueling semester.
The semester before graduation, I was required to complete an internship. I had a friend working at a bank in Billings, and he suggested I apply to work there for the summer to fulfill my internship. They were great to work for during the summer. As fall got closer, I knew with my schedule it was unlikely I’d be able to stay on since it would be difficult for me to work during the school year. As it turns out, they were more than accommodating to work around my busy schedule. Once the fall semester was completed, they offered me a full-time position and my banking began. I’ve made one other stop at a local bank to gain a commercial banking background, which proved pivotal to my success over the years. I’ve been with Altana Federal Credit Union for 7 years. It’s a great organization to work for and, like Rocky, they treat employees like family and have a vested interest in our success in both work and life.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
I have a very successful career that I’m proud of and, because of the foundation I received at Rocky, I feel like the sky is the limit. My success is also made possible because of the support base I have at home. My wife, Ciara, is the glue that holds our family together and I know I wouldn’t be as successful as I am without her. Balancing a career and family is never easy, but when you have someone by your side to help you through the struggles that work and life can throw at you, it makes it easier.
In what ways did your education from Rocky Mountain College prepare you for your career?
Be confident in yourself and your abilities. The professors at Rocky provided different opportunities to really stand out from your peers. The different approaches that they used to allow a person to find their unique strengths, whether it was an independent project to show your skills or by putting you in a group where each person had to pull their weight so the group would succeed. Those situations relate back to the “real world” work environment today.