Uncle Bill

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In the late-1990s a fellow Saint John’s alumnus said he wanted to introduce me to a young and ambitious Johnnie graduate who was building a successful logistics company in St. Cloud.  When I met Pat Lynch I encountered a gentle man who led with a big smile.  He was very kind and he seemed far too young to be bearing the burden of meeting payroll for probably a couple of dozen employees at the time.  Pat had graduated from Saint John’s roughly a decade earlier with a Bachelor of Science degree in management.  Upon graduation in 1988, he headed to the east coast where he launched his career with C.H. Robinson Co. in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  In 1993 he returned to Minnesota and worked for Anderson Trucking Service before co-founding his own firm.  By 2006 his company had grown to 53 employees and later that year it was acquired by C.H. Robinson Worldwide.  

At one point Pat had shared with me that his mom’s brother had graduated from Saint John’s in the late 1960s.  In fact, he is one of the primary reasons Saint John’s was clearly on Pat’s radar when he was a senior in high school and in the throes of his college search.  His uncle’s name was William Drahota.  Bill Drahota graduated from Saint John’s in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.  After graduation he served in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of captain before being discharged in 1971.  After a brief stint with Arthur Andersen, he joined John Forbes & Co., a Seattle-based CPA firm.  In 1973 Bill’s CPA exam earned the highest score in the state of Washington that year.  He joined Bumble Bee Seafoods in 1974, working for them in Oregon before moving to San Jose and later San Diego, CA. Bill accepted a position as controller of Caribbean Marine Services Co. in 1977, and he worked there until his untimely death on May 8, 1995.  Bill had a wife and four children.    

Obviously Bill’s passing must have been extremely difficult on Pat’s mom and his entire extended family.  Just over ten years after his passing it was Pat’s idea to honor his uncle’s memory by establishing the William Drahota Endowed Scholarship Fund at Saint John’s.  Over the years the fund has grown and there have already been dozens of Johnnies who have received the Drahota Scholarship.  And there will be hundreds more in the decades to come.

Pat’s thoughtfulness and generous spirit is a great inspiration.  He loves his family and he lives a life of public service and community engagement.  After the sale of his company he was elected to a four year term on the Sartell City Council and he also served as a member of the Sartell Economic Development Commission.  Subsequently he has been an active volunteer on the board of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of St. Cloud, including a year as board president in 2011. Pat later served on the board of Junior Achievement and he has been a dedicated mentor to undergraduate students in the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at SJU and CSB. 

A few years ago Pat decided to start another company, Granite Logistics, headquartered in Sartell.  This fall Granite Logistics will sponsor the Johnnie Football radio network.  Pat is a huge Johnnie fan and we are huge fans of his. In addition to his endowed scholarship support, Pat’s generosity includes leadership support for the SJU Student Fund Fellows Society, the graduate School of Theology and Seminary and our current athletics facilities campaign.  In early May we dedicated and blessed Lynch Plaza which is a beautiful gathering place for hospitality serving baseball, soccer and other athletic events.  

Pat Lynch is passionate in business and selfless as a volunteer.  Most of all, he is extraordinarily generous, and he lives by the words of Tim McGraw to “always stay humble and kind.”