New Jersey native Randy Minniear didn’t start his college career as a Terp, having originally attended Ithaca College in upstate New York. However, after playing only one football season at Ithaca his freshman year, Minniear began to feel as though there was something else out there for him. That something, he believed, was Division 1 football at the University of Maryland.
"Maryland had always been on my list after I visited during a high school recruiting trip," Minniear recalled. "Thus, fate via athletics brought me to UMD."
But it wasn’t athletics that made Minniear stay. After his sophomore year, Minniear decided to leave his football career behind, and now fondly remembers hanging out on the mall during warm spring days, late nights in McKeldin, and sleeping overnight at the stadium to get basketball tickets.
"While football brought me to Maryland, I had always had an interest in sociology and government," Minniear explained. "Thus, being just outside the nation’s capital was captivating to me."
"Studying government and politics there was a no-brainer, although I had intended to parlay my studies into a career in federal law enforcement, minoring in criminal justice."
Years later, the ’97 Government and Politics alum would find himself headed down a very different path.
"My career has been a story of seizing upon opportunity and applying hard work to grow," Minniear said. "One day I dropped a resume off at a [New Jersey] state senator’s office which was above the office of the communications company I was working at, and the senator [John Bennett] happened to be looking for a legislative aide at the time."
Minniear spent the next four years working alongside Bennett, at which point Bennett became the Majority Leader of the State Senate and Minniear his Chief of Staff. Bennett eventually lost re-election, at which point a mentor of Minniear’s recommended that he find a “niche” industry to work in.
Minniear initiated that career move by first representing pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturers in New Jersey, then working for the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA).
"I spent 10 years at the New Jersey Hospital Association, ultimately serving as its Senior Vice President, and I was able to gain an intimate knowledge of healthcare policy during a period of time that saw the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and a reform of the Medicaid system, amongst many other things," Minniear said.
After a decade at the NJHA, Minniear was ready for change.
"I was drawn to CarePoint as it is one of the only for-profit healthcare systems in our state," Minniear explained. "I like a good underdog story and CarePoint had been under intense scrutiny because of their unique business model – unique to New Jersey, but not elsewhere."
Minniear was hired as a Senior Vice President by CarePoint Health System to create an external affairs platform, which he has been working on for the last three years.
"I am one of the rare individuals whose undergraduate studies truly built a foundation for a career,” Minniear reflected. “I know so many people who studied something in college and ended up doing something completely different. It was truly the opposite with me."
"I learned many of the critical skills and principles of government that I apply to my job to this day. I was lucky,” said Minniear, who now spends his free time coaching his son’s football team, watching his daughter play soccer, and competing in mixed martial arts at a local gym.
However, Minniear does have some regret stemming from his college years, and he hopes that current students will be able to learn from his experience.
"There is such a wealth of resources at UMD when it comes to exposure to government at all levels that I wish I took more advantage of. I wish I had done more in terms of internships and the like,” Minniear admitted. “The capital of the free world is a metro trip away!"
"Having said that, the shape of our national government is changing so rapidly that soon-to-be graduates are going to have an unprecedented amount of opportunity—not just to find employment, but to potentially shape the future,” Minniear went on. “Students should truly consider where their interests lie, whether it be to work within or alongside government, and connect to the right resources at the university to open doors."