Richard Telthorst

President at Missouri Telecommunications Industry Association

Richard Telthorst, BJ '77

Degree(s): BJ '77

Whereabouts: United States, Jefferson City, Missouri

Describe your place of employment and what do you do?
Missouri Telecommunications Industry Association is a trade association that represents the telecommunications industry. We address telecommunication issues with the state legislature and the state regulatory commission. We also organize educational conferences for our members and participate in trade shows. In my line of work, I enjoy representing members’ interests before groups like the Missouri Public Service commission and the state legislature.

What is one thing you’ve done that might surprise people?
In graduate school while studying public administration, I worked as a speech writer and research analyst for the House of Representatives. Not only did I learn a lot about how the political process works, I realized how valuable my J-School training was and how useful it could be to me during my time in Jefferson City, Mo. The ability to take a very complex subject matter and boil it down to its essential points was one skill I found to be exceedingly useful.

What would be your best advice to current students?
Get your money’s worth. Get absolutely everything you can out of your academic work at the J-School. It really is an excellent education; therefore, you need to get the most out of all of your classes. If you do, you will have a firm foundation for your career when you graduate.

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?
I was named a Certified Association Executive by the American Society of Association Executives. Less than 10 percent of association executives are Certified Association Executives.

What is your favorite J-School memory?
My favorite memory is of an event that took place almost 30 years after I graduated from the J-School. In May of 2005, I got to see my son, Matt Telthorst, BJ ’05, advertising, give the student commencement address at the Journalism School graduation. Seated onstage listening to him was Don Ranly, one of my very favorite professors from my years at Mizzou. Doesn’t get better than that.

What makes you good at your job?
I have to credit a lot of my success to the training I received at the J-School. Being forced to take a complex story and find its essential elements is an invaluable skill, it is applicable to many career interests outside the field of journalism.

What is one thing you wished you could have done?
I would have liked to have gone to law school. I really didn’t develop interest in law until I was about 30 years old. When I was working around legislators and attorneys, I began to realize that this was something I could have easily done. Although I have no regrets about the career path I’ve taken, that’s one career field I would have enjoyed.

What is your secret to sucess?
A combination of hard work, persistence and dedication to the task at hand. I don’t think anybody can be successful without a whole lot of hard work, luck, and blessings.

What made you decide you wanted to study journalism?
One word, Watergate. The Watergate incident of 1974 really brought investigative journalism to the forefront and made it a cool profession. Everybody wanted to be Woodward and Bernstein. It really glamorized the field and got a lot of people interested in pursuing careers in journalism.

Updated: April 10, 2020