Shifting

Shifting

FOCUS

Transitioning from NCAA glory to the hard-charging business world.

When you meet Koch Business Development Associate Victor Ojeleye, the first thing you notice is his kind, contagious smile. Followed quickly by his impressive 6’6” stature, professional presence and confident, yet humble, demeanor.

What is not immediately apparent are all of the transitions he has tirelessly powered his way through to get where he is now.

Victor's American journey began when he emigrated from Africa at age four to settle a world away in small-town of Ottawa, Kansas, with his family. After learning English, discovering a love for basketball in middle school, and excelling in high school athletics and academics, Victor set his sights on the lofty goal of playing big-time hoops.

"You have to be driven — by a sense of purpose and by the desire to get results. It means putting on your best every day and commanding a presence. Present yourself well and look at the world in the same way a performer works at pleasing the audience."

To better his chances at a quality Division One program, Victor began with a year of prep school in North Carolina. This led to a chance to play for coach Frank Martin as a preferred walk-on for the Kansas State University Wildcats.

Victor did what he always does when presented with a great opportunity. He jumped at it.

Greatness ensued. In his four years at K-State, he helped his Wildcats to a 96-42 record and three consecutive NCAA Championship Tournament appearances. His tenacity, not to mention relentless positive mental leadership, led to him being elected team captain in both his junior and senior years.

Through all the successes, transitions and life changes, two things remained constant for this four-year letterman. Hard work and the drive to succeed.

“I was a non-traditional guy, I used academic scholarships and my brain to stay on the team,” Victor said. “I work really hard, and just lead by example…that’s the role I wanted to play.”

A double major in accounting and finance, Victor harnessed a tireless work ethic and the inspiration of a tough love coach to get the best out of himself both on and off the court — balancing basketball, books and volunteer work.

The results speak for themselves. Victor earned first-team academic all-conference honors for three straight years. He also served as Vice Chair of the Big 12 Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and received the prestigious Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award in his senior year.

Today, Victor works at Koch. He’ll tell you that’s because he feels it is the best opportunity to continue his success at an elite level.

“Koch is in some really exciting industries. But the biggest thing that led me to Koch was the culture. They really provided a lot of opportunities to get to know them on campus,” Victor remembers.

“I was immediately struck that they were genuine and seemed sincerely interested in my potential. They weren’t just present, they were consistently involved. With the handshake. With the smile. By saying, ‘hey, let’s get coffee.’ That’s what drew me…seeing what kept people here for 30-plus years.”

As an Associate in Koch’s Strategy and Business Development division, Victor helps analyze data and refine complex information vital to helping company leadership make smart decisions about the future of various companies within Koch. In his role, Victor sees some real parallels with his NCAA experience.

"That's what drew me…seeing what kept people here for 30 plus years."

“One thing that really helped me through college and my Koch career so far, is the team…the network,” Victor said. “Each of the employees at Koch has a comparative advantage…that allows us to have a more complete team.”

And, as usual, he’s not resting on any laurels. When Victor isn’t moving forward at work, or spending cherished time with his close-knit family, he’s giving back by exercising his continued passion for volunteerism and community involvement.

“One thing that I’m involved in is an organization called YoungLife.” Victor’s eyes sparkle. “It is a good opportunity to mentor and spend time with kids who maybe don’t have some of the resources that other kids have. Whether it’s someone to shoot hoops with, help them study, or do some coaching on general life decisions, I’m there. It’s a commitment and sacrifice, but ultimately I ask myself, ‘If I had this in high school, what kind of difference would it have made?’”

This, from a humble and courageous young man named Victor who demonstrates daily that difference making is what it is really all about. And the way he mentors students today can give us all confidence that someone from the next generation will be able to fill his size 14 high-tops.

Victor's Signature