Doerge was first interested in entertainment management because it was a brand-new, innovative program at Missouri State. "I grew up working with my father's small business, so that drew me into the business field. Also, I wanted to apply business concepts in a unique environment that changes every day, where you get to work around events and music."
He has since built a career in event sales and operations, and he considers his education at Missouri State essential to that. "Dr. [Philip] Rothschild is very active with internship programs, which is how a lot of the entertainment management industry is based. You can move forward with book knowledge alone, but the industry is largely based on experience. The entertainment management internship program allowed me to have a better hands-on understanding of event and facility operations in addition to box office operations and group sales. These internships allowed my career to hit the ground running."
Doerge was one of the first classes to graduate from Missouri State with a degree in entertainment management.
While he was at Missouri State, Doerge built a network of friends that would become important to him. "My family landed in some hard financial times," he said. "Basically when times got tough, I was told there wasn't enough money for my rent and tuition. I moved onto campus with a payment plan and managed to find a great job, but without that support system I wouldn't be where I am today."
He also appreciates both the attention and assistance he received from the University. "Overall it's a really nurturing, supportive environment that I think most people can be successful in," he said. "When I ran across those financial hard times, I met with the financial aid department about every other week and they were extremely understanding and supportive."
After graduating, Doerge found a job opening in the St. Louis area. "I knew I wanted to stick around in Missouri," he said. "When I saw the opportunity to be an event coordinator in St. Louis, I went for that. I actually beat out over 100 other applicants for that job." After six years of event operations, he accepted a facility scheduling position and now manages the scheduling department.
"I work in tandem with people who sell St. Louis as a destination on a national and international level," he said. "What keeps me coming back is being able to represent St. Louis on such a big level. When potential customers visit St. Louis to determine if we are a true option for their event, often the question, 'How will our event work in the Center?' is first priority. We have to find a way to make it work at the Center otherwise there is no need for the hotels, restaurants, etc. It can be really high-pressure but also a very exciting process. It's never a stale situation."
After balancing a full-time job during the majority of college, Doerge knows he can accomplish a lot. "It helped me develop my work ethic and time management skills," he said. "It showed me that if you put all your efforts toward something, you can get it done. You also have to have a good support system, and Missouri State was a big part of that."