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Benny Suggs to Visit National Agents Alliance Team at 2012 National Convention

BURLINGTON, N.C. – Benny Suggs believes that “a calling” will always trump a career.

Suggs, the executive director of the North Carolina State University Alumni Association, said that is why he ended up back in North Carolina, where he grew up; and it’s why he is back in Raleigh, N.C., where he earned his undergraduate degree at N.C. State.

Suggs, who is one of several impressive speakers appearing at National Agents Alliance’s “Be Your Own Rock Star” Version 2.0 National Convention Jan. 26-29, 2012 in Raleigh, said passion is what has always led him to the next adventure, job or challenge in life.

“We have a spectacular lineup of speakers schedule for our national convention,” National Agents Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Albright said. “This is a dynamic group of people from several different walks of life. Benny Suggs has certainly seen and done some things that many of us could only dream about doing. When you can say you zoomed off the deck of an aircraft carrier dozens of times in a fighter jet and landed safely, that’s pretty awesome. Benny is a leader, he’s a fellow Wolfpacker and I’m fired up that he’s coming to visit with us in January.”

Suggs first visit with National Agents Alliance came in July at the “Be Your Own Rock Star” Leadership Conference, where he helped with the event’s kickoff ceremony.

“I’ve always said and believed that a calling will trump a career any day of the week,” Suggs said. “If I can help a fellow N.C. State alum out by speaking in January, then I’m glad to do it. The energy level (in July) was higher than even I expected it to be. I had high expectations, but I walked away impressed. It exceeded my expectations. It’s a great group of passionate people.”

After graduating from N.C. State, Suggs spent the next 40 years away from the state he grew up in outside of Columbus County.

The challenge of leading the N.C. State Alumni Association, however, led Suggs back to North Carolina in June of 2010. He also serves on the N.C. State University General Hugh Shelton Leadership Initiative Board of Advisors.

Suggs grew up with a love and fascination for airplanes, which led him to the Navy, where he spent 30 years serving his country before retiring in 2000 as a rear admiral. He flew attack and fighter jets from the decks of 12 different aircraft carriers. His last assignment was Deputy Commander in Chief of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

His lifelong love of motorcycles took Suggs to take a position with Milwaukee, Wisc.-based Harley-Davidson, where he worked in senior management for a decade.

Another passion guided Suggs, who left his job as general manager of Rider Services and the Harley Owners Group and its 1.2 million members worldwide, back to his home state. The Wolfpack needed Suggs and he answered the call to lead the alumni association.

In the last 17 months, Suggs said he’s been busy doing all he can to help N.C. State add value to its students and alumni.

“We just held a very successful homecoming weekend, the largest student-led effort in the Atlantic Coast Conference,” Suggs said. “One of our biggest things we do is make the experience for students as rich and as successful as it can be so when students leave here they stay connected to this special place for a lifetime.”

“We are getting ready to host an event at a well-deserved bowl game in a few weeks and we are excited about the job coach (Mark) Gottfried has done with the basketball team so far. There are just a lot of things going on around here. We are busy, but we know how to have fun doing it too.”

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