You Don’t Know Jack: Meet Jack Benke, Executive Director of Security and Plant Operations

Jack Benke, Executive Director of both Security and Plant Operations, is known across campus for his steady grins, starched white shirts, shiny Oxford shoes and neckties on the hottest summer days. He always calls you by name and seems unphased by the challenges of enforcing never-before-anticipated campus improvements as a result of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Curious if the 20-year Westminster employee is calm on the inside or just like a swan — cool and calm on the surface but paddling madly underneath — Westminster Today reached out to Benke with a few questions (found below). Long story short: He is that unflappable. But until you read further, you don’t know Jack.

Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in Callaway County and graduated from Fulton High School in 1974. Oh my! That sounds like a long time ago.

Please tell a little bit about your career background.

I started my law enforcement career with the Fulton Police Department, where my father was also an officer for 20 years. I then worked for the Callaway County Sheriff’s Department for approximately 15 years and ended my career there as captain and jail administrator.

What are your responsibilities at Westminster?

I oversee buildings and grounds maintenance, custodial services, compliance and safety and security.

How much of your time this summer has been devoted to COVID-19 response, prevention and planning?

I would say that 100 percent of our time this summer has been devoted to coronavirus.

What’s the biggest challenge in your position right now?

I think the biggest challenge for us has been the increased concern and requirements that were put into place to ensure the health safety of our campus. Once our students were able to return to campus to retrieve their belongings this spring, our staff disinfected and sanitized every room in every building on campus. From day one, when the stay-at-home restrictions were put into place, our custodial and security staff have been here every single day ensuring the health and safety of our campus community. They are the heroes in my eyes!

What do you do when you’re not on campus?

I enjoy woodworking and refinishing antique furniture.

Please tell a little bit about your family.

I have a wonderful significant other named Betty Moeckli, who I have been fortunate to spend the past 10 years of my life with. I have two great sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law and three awesome grandchildren. My oldest son, Jay, lives in Granbury, TX, and works in the oil industry. My youngest son, Corey, lives in Ashland, MO, and is currently at Fort Gordon, GA, in training for the Missouri National Guard.

What are your favorite TV shows?

Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D.

Is there anything else that you would like the Westminster community to know about you?

I consider myself very fortunate to be a part of the Westminster community. Westminster has been a big part of my life for the past 20 years, and I can only hope that my contribution here has made a difference.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.