Harold C. Keller Public Service Leadership Award: 2014
Steve E. Grubbs, 2014 Winner
Harold C. Keller spoke gleefully about students he coached, and how their successes and works in public service and civic engagement made “Old Dad” really proud. Some of those alumni of Davenport West High School even stayed in Iowa’s Quad Cities area as speech and debate coaches, including Maggie (Hensler) Rietz and Joe Rankin, and have contributed to inspiring the next generation of young people. One alum, in particular, stands out for his extensive commitement ot public service leadership, earning a unanimous nomination from his fellow alumni: Steve E. Grubbs.
Mr. Grubbs competed in the National Senate in 1982, earning election as a presiding officer, as well as competing in Boys’ Extemporaneous, Speaking and Lincoln-Douglas Debate in 1983. He went on to earn degrees in law and finance from the University of Iowa, where he served as Student Senate President. While he was stilll earning his juris doctorate, Grubbs was elected a representative to the Iowa State Legislature, as well as serving on U.S. Senator Dole’s Iowa Staff. He later chaired Presidentail campaign efforts in Iowa for Senator Dole and Steve Forbes. After serving three terms in the legislature, Grubbs was elected chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, and later formed VictoryEnterprises, Inc., a company that provides comprehensive political and services as mobile app development, social media management, and opinion research.
He also has been active in the Young Presidents’ Organization, a professiona networking group for chief executive officers (CEOs) under 45, earning their esteemed Best Business Network Award, and Best of the Best Award for creating a culture of entrepreneurship.
He gives generously of his time and funds to support speech and debate at both the middle and high school levels. In addition to assisting at his alma mater, Davenport West, he helped start a program at Davenport Assumption, which is now a charter chaper in the National Speech & Debate Assocation. According to Jo Rankin, Grubbs “is a full-time business owner who opens his workplace Sunday nights to coach students.” He also connects students to real-world political internships to apply what they’ve learned in debate.
Steve Grubbs and his wife, Kelli, have four children, all of whom have participated in speech and debate: Eric, Jared, Justin, and Olivia.