From WestMO to Managing Partner & Wash U Executive MBA, David Jackson ’10
Above, David Jackson ’10 with fiancée Claire Vatterott ’10.
By the time he graduated from Westminster, David Jackson ’10 had spent more than 1,000 hours working with 300 lawmakers as Missouri’s youngest registered lobbyist. While his classmates worked on accounting homework, he was advising fortune 500 companies on the state’s $26 billion budget.
Today, Jackson is a managing partner and association executive with the Gate Way Group, one of the fastest growing government affairs firms in the Midwest that has delivered historic public policy wins for 42 clients across 13 different industries. He’s recently helped expand their reach nationwide, working with Governors and members of Congress on behalf of corporate clients in health care and technology.
Over the last year, Jackson became the second youngest in history to graduate from the Executive MBA Program at Washington University in St. Louis and was named one of St. Louis Business Journal’s Top 30 under 30 professionals in the region.
“You want David at the table during any high stakes negotiation,” said Sean Manners, who served as President of Kappa Alpha Order while Jackson was Rush Chairman. “His enthusiasm and passion for working with people is what sets him apart.”
At age 20, Jackson was offered an associate position with the same lobbying firm he is now leading. However, his contract was contingent on him remaining a full-time student and graduating on time.
Because Westminster’s campus is 20 miles from Missouri’s State Capitol in Jefferson City, Jackson pitched Westminster’s administration on a customized schedule with independent studies that aligned with his work within the firm.
However, he noticed many of the classes he needed for graduation required on campus attendance and were not eligible as an independent study. “I will never forget the relief I felt when I saw the excitement on Dean Perry’s face as she told me I could not pass up the opportunity to gain real-life working experience while still in college,” said Jackson.
It wasn’t rare for Jackson to return home from the capitol at 1AM after a Senate filibuster, as he worked between 50-70 hours a week in Jefferson City Monday through Thursday. He would then spend each Friday in back-to-back meetings with professors overseeing his independent study courses. He improved his client reporting through an interpersonal communications course and used data from tax policy debates and legislator interviews for a thesis paper titled “The Politics of Economic Recovery” with Professor Tobias Gibson.
But anyone who knew Jackson will tell you his job didn’t stop him from engaging on campus.
“He learned how to manage his time and prioritize his responsibilities,” said Jackson’s college sweetheart and now fiancée Claire Vatterott ’10. “He truly see’s the best in everyone and he knew 800 of the 1,000 students on campus by name.”
Ed Long has been the cook for Kappa Alpha Order for over a decade and recalls Jackson as one of the most influential leaders he’s seen during his time on campus. “He has always been an energetic motivator capable of thinking inside and outside of the box.”
When asked what advice he would give to incoming freshman, Jackson replied “too many people come to college with the hope of finding a job when they graduate. Use the four years to find out what you enjoy, because that’s where you’re likely to find your most competitive skill sets. From there, identify your dream job where you can use those skills and leverage your time to build a resume that allows you to get there.”