As a brand new business officer, seemingly so many years ago now, and without prior Christian Higher Education experience, ABACC meant one thing to me – help! My predecessor told me, “If you only have time for one organization, ABACC is the one you should choose.” I followed his advice and I am so thankful I did. ABACC gave me so much – colleagues, friends, support – and so many opportunities to improve my skills, brainstorm about best practices, and discuss issues important to my institution with business officers who “got me” and understood what I was dealing with on an everyday basis.
Now, many years later, it is such a privilege to give back to the organization that meant so much to me. As Executive Director, I have a special passion for the work of the business officer and understand first-hand how increasingly difficult it is to manage the business and financial concerns of a Christian institution of higher education. That passion drives everything we do here at ABACC. Every benefit we provide, every service we offer – all of the resources we make available to our members come from a passion to help improve the standard of business management in our member institutions. The professional development offerings and the mutual support coming from the variety of networking opportunities ABACC offers fosters personal and professional improvement. And better business officers mean stronger institutions.
The one phrase I hear most often is “I'm so glad I'm not alone!” There is nothing more discouraging to me to meet a business officer – whether new to the field or experienced – and to hear how they feel there is no one who understands what they do, no one to share burdens with, and no one who really “gets” what they do. With ABACC, you are NOT alone. You are surrounded by business officers at every level of experience who have all “been there!” With ABACC, you are never alone.
As the job of business officer becomes increasingly more difficult and strenuous, at a rate that is difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with, we tend to bury ourselves deeper in the dark recesses of our offices, when actually the opposite should be true – the more burdened we are, the more we need to surround ourselves with competent, experienced, trusted professionals and friends. People who can relate to us, and help us work through the important or even mundane issues with which we all are forced to manage.
I encourage you to engage with your friends and colleagues here at ABACC. We need each other. Your institution needs you to be a highly competent, skilled, professional. ABACC exists to make that happen!
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Mr. Hoeker holds degrees from Grace Bible College and Grand Valley State University. His education and experience led him to ABACC in 2000. Prior to his role as ABACC's Executive Director, Mr. Hoeker served for almost a decade as Vice President for Business and Finance at Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Prior to that he worked in the secular world in banking and small business administration. Outside of his professional career, Mr. Hoeker is involved in a variety of non-profit organizations including as a pianist on his church praise team. Mr. Hoeker is a classically trained pianist tutored under the instruction of concert pianist Kayleen Bobbitt. He has performed in many concerts and fundraising benefits and is a frequent accompanist for Gwenneth Bean, a veteran of the Metropolitan Opera, and can be heard on Gwenneth Bean’s latest CD, Gwenneth Bean Sings Her Favorites. Mr. Hoeker also writes worship dramas and church resources and is published by Lillenas Publishing Company. He has written for trade publications including NACUBO's Business Officer magazine, Christian Academia Press, and for the Association of Governing Boards and was featured in a PBS Leading Edge series on the topic of the future of faith-based higher education.
Bruce and Sheila Hoeker ( ABACC's Administrative Assistant ) have two children, Bryce-Allan and Maddison, and another two children waiting for them in Heaven. The Hoekers have served and currently do serve many non-profit organizations as board member, consultant, supporter and volunteer. The Hoeker Family resides in Hudsonville, Michigan and considers it a privilege and an honor to serve ABACC and its members.