Jared and Maria Bruggeman

The duo of Maria and Jared Bruggeman is one of the rare couples who work together at Missouri Southern; She’s in the kinesiology department and he is the director of athletics. After years of working at the same place, the two have learned the importance of balancing work-life and home-life.

The Bruggemans met while attending the University of North Dakota. Both involved in athletics at school, and living in the student residence halls, Maria and Jared dated for four years before marrying. This summer they will celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary. The Bruggemans also have a boy and two girls, ages 10, 9 and 5.

Missouri Southern is not the first school where these two have worked together. After Maria earned her master’s degree, she worked as the head volleyball coach at the University of North Dakota, and shortly after, Jared was hired as the assistant athletic director there.

In 2005, the duo and their family took off for Flagstaff, Ariz., where Jared worked as an associate athletic director for Northern Arizona University. Maria joined him in that position half a year later, and the two worked as associate athletic directors until moving to Joplin in 2009.

Jared took the job at Missouri Southern with confidence that a position would open up for Maria, and it did. They say the move to Joplin and Maria’s transfer out of the athletics department, to teaching, has made it easier to balance schedules.

“It’s nice because it’s a little bit more flexible,” she said. “Summers I can be home with the kids, and I can be home at a reasonable time in the afternoons, after school, with the kids.”

The Bruggemans enjoy meeting for lunch and being able to have short visits during the work day thanks to the close proximity. Another plus, Jared says, is that the vacations and days off are similar, which makes it easier to spend time together outside of work.

Although managing a family and working can prove difficult for the two, they have found that being in different departments gives them a little more freedom to take turns when family emergencies arise.

Jared offers some advice for those couples who work together: “Keep the work at work, and keep the home at home.”