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Operation paint Max's house

The business of teamwork

By Adam Overland

Paint Max's house 165
Volunteers were hard at work painting a coworker's house.

August 4, 2009

On August 1, the associate dean for undergraduate programs and 10 other staff members of Carlson School of Management's undergraduate program got down to the business of house painting 101. The staff members teamed up to paint the outside of Morgan Kinross-Wright's Brooklyn Center home—in just one day. Kinross-Wright currently serves as director of the Undergraduate Business Career Center (UBCC) at Carlson, where she helps students preparing to go into the job market.

In early 2009, she was named by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal as one of Minneapolis's 40 Under Forty, which honors some of the region's most talented and successful young leaders. With a two-year-old son, Max, in tow, and a husband on deployment in Iraq with the Minnesota National Guard, she understandably doesn't have a lot of time on her hands.

About a month ago, Kinross-Wright decided it was time for her house to get a new coat of paint, and she asked Robert Ruekert, associate dean of undergraduate programs at Carlson, whether his teenage son might be interested in doing the job.

"I basically thought that wasn't such a great idea—knowing my son—and I said, 'you may want to just find some professionals to do that,'" says Reukert. "But then I thought about it and I talked to some people on my staff, and we decided it would be a great gesture for us to say, 'Don't worry about it.'" So the group began to plan what they called "Operation Paint Max's House."

Paint Max's house 165 (2)Kinross-Wright has been UBCC director since 2005, prior to which she had been associate director of corporate services at Carlson. In her position, she also builds key corporate relationships on behalf of the school, and evidently she's built those truly rare personal relationships that have people volunteer to paint one's house.

"She is remarkable and has done really well in her job, [though] it was hard for her to accept the help," says Ruekert. But Kinross-Wright relented, and got involved in the painting action, turning her home from an old green to a new, off-white sand in one afternoon.