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Alumni Profile

Second-chance solutions

Potter

A former football defensive back for Mizzou, Kevin Potter now offers second chances by providing employment opportunities.

Kevin Potter, BES ’83, makes his living working in tandem with the construction industry, but what he really builds is hope.

As founder, president and CEO of NewPOT Solutions, Potter helps people earn a second chance in the workforce. Working closely with the Missouri Department of Transportation, NewPOT hires workers from many walks of life and varying levels of education, including some still in the criminal justice system. His company provides traffic control support for general contractors at highway work zones by setting up cones, message boards and signs.

A defensive back for Mizzou from 1978–82, Potter played two seasons with the Chicago Bears in the 1980s before starting the company in St. Louis in 1999. Now he feels like he’s doing what he has been called to do.

“We’re creating access for a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to find work,” Potter says. He offers as an example a friend’s unemployed nephew who had served a prison sentence and began working for NewPOT in the summer of 2008. Now the employee is in a four-year apprenticeship program through the Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council.

“I’m blessed to be in a position to help support him, but at the same time, he has to be accountable,” Potter says.

Potter is also president of the St. Louis chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, which helps provide jobs for minority workers.

Potter says he owes much of his success to football. He presented a $1,000 check to the MU Athletic Department to help young athletes through scholarships and internships on Aug. 30, 2008, and he plans to give more annually.

“Football taught me structure, discipline and the ability to think positively through adversity,” Potter says. “You’ve got to be able to bounce off of a loss or a failure and analyze the things that you’ve done.” — Marcus Wilkins