Archive | January, 2014

Prairie Cyclones

22 Jan

Note: When we met with Mike and Cathy Mores at their Manhattan, Kan., home in September, the temperature was 103 degrees. The current forecast for Ames tonight (Jan. 22) is 8 degrees below zero, and the high tomorrow will only reach 2 above. So even though Kansas was VERY hot, it’s sounding pretty good right about now.


Mike and Cathy Mores are a small but mighty Cyclone voice among the “passionate purple” Kansas State University fans in Manhattan, Kan.

Cathy (’99 art & design) and Mike (’99 advertising) have twice made their home in Manhattan and have also lived in Big 12 towns of Lawrence, Kan., Boulder, Colo., and Ames, Iowa, as Mike built his professional life in Div. I athletics marketing, advertising, and fundraising. He’s currently the foundation director for Manhattan Area Technical College. Cathy is the owner and art director of Cathy Mores Photography.

Mike grew up in Harlan, Iowa, and he comes from a long line of Iowa State grads. Cathy’s family moved around, from Minnesota to Chicago to Mason City. When she toured the ISU campus, she knew it was where she wanted to be.

The couple met at Iowa State during Greek Week 1997.

“The first time he saw me, I was in a Raggedy Ann costume,” Cathy says, laughing. “I had freckles and pigtails.”

“We didn’t hit it off right off the bat,” she continues. “It took some perseverance on his part.”

The Moreses have a son, Parker, who was born in Ames and may be the biggest 7-year-old Cyclone fan in the state of Kansas.

“We’re die-hard Cyclone fans,” Cathy explained. “We wanted him to grow up feeling connected to something, and that’s Iowa State. He’ll always have this ‘this is where I came from’ no matter where we live.”

Mike and Cathy thrive on the energy they experience living in a college town, and they like living among the majestic Kansas Flint Hills in the heart of the prairie.

“It’s very Midwestern, very ‘Kansas,’” Mike says.

P.S. Here’s an update on Mike’s career: I just learned that he recently accepted a position as director of business development for Scott Rice, a Kansas City-based company specializing in business interiors. He’ll still be working in the Manhattan area.

At home in the West

13 Jan

Justin pic

Kalispell, Mont., is a long way from Carroll, Iowa.

But Carroll native Justin Ahmann (’05 civil engineering) and his wife, Laura, were deliberate about where they wanted to live.

Laura is originally from California but went to college in Montana. The two met in Omaha, Neb., when Justin was working as a civil engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad and Laura was going to medical school. They spent three years living in Virginia.

“We belong in the west,” he says, citing the proximity to water, mountains, and national parks. “If I’m going to live somewhere this far from home, it should be worth it.”

Justin’s career in civil engineering has already been far-reaching, from working with bridge hydraulics for Union Pacific to mining and power-plant waste in Virginia to his current position as director of engineering for APEC engineering, where he works with water rights issues, utilities, dams, and municipal districts to expand and modify their sewer and water systems.

Graduating from Iowa State, Justin says he “had more opportunities than I knew what to do with.” In fact, he says, he didn’t know how good Iowa State’s education was until he traveled around the country and met people from other schools. He quickly found opportunities in Virginia when Laura chose that state for her medical residency. And when they decided to move to Montana, it took him just six weeks to find a job.

Justin and Laura live on 10 acres in Kalispell; they have two sons under the age of 3.

“We could go to the big city and see a lot of [career] opportunities,” he says, “but we kind of passed on that to have a simpler life. We wanted our kids to grow up here.”

Mile-high chills

3 Jan


Zoey creeps into the bedroom.  TAP.  The room is pitch dark.  TAP.  She reaches for the


But, doesn’t find it.  Until –

– A PALE HAND hovers over hers.  Guides it to the light switch.

She flips the light on.  Jumps back.  There’s no one there.  She’s alone in the room.  She begins to tremble.

Horror is hot. And nobody embraces the genre more than Jeremy McCann (’01 liberal studies), a screenwriter and actor living in Denver, Colo.

Though he also writes television comedy, it’s Jeremy’s horror scripts (an excerpt of one is above) that have reaped awards. He recently won the Creative World Awards’ horror/thriller/fantasy screenwriting competition and the Mile High Horror Film Festival screenwriting competition. Other original television pilots and feature-length screenplays have made it into the finals.

Jeremy’s taste in horror films leans toward the classics – “The Exorcist,” “The Shining,” and “Scream” are his favorites – and toward “paranormal/haunting stuff.”

“Most horror movies don’t scare me,” he says. “I think that’s what makes me a good writer – I’m trying to scare myself.”

Jeremy’s year revolves around Halloween, his favorite holiday, and he says he loves to stay at the Stanley Hotel in nearby Estes Park, the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel The Shining. (“It’s got a great atmosphere,” he says. “I could just go there for weeks and do nothing but write.”)

As a student at Iowa State, Jeremy says, “I didn’t know what to do with myself.” He wanted to get into film but found himself taking theatre classes. The turning point came when the late ISU theatre professor Patrick “Doc” Gouran took a special interest in Jeremy and helped nurture his writing and acting talents. Everything took off from there.

“Doc’s the reason I’m doing this for sure,” Jeremy said. “He was the best part of Iowa State for me.”

Jeremy, a native of Wiota, Iowa, lives in Denver with his wife, Jennifer, because “it’s gorgeous and close to home,” but as his writing career takes off, a move to California seems inevitable.

Looking back, Jeremy says, “Iowa State isn’t known for its arts as much as its sciences…but I’d love to help change that.”