He’s come a long way from mowing lawns. By the time Chuck Konderla ’95 was 13, he was working any odd job he could find to make a buck or two. The opportunity to work at a retail jewelry store 20 years ago is one he’s still thankful for.
Konderla used this retail job to pay for his education at Texas A&M in Agricultural Economics. “A job in college meant paying for things like food, electricity, rent, tuition, books and everything else,” said Konderla. “At work, evident failure could mean dropping out of Texas A&M, so I embraced the knowledge being passed to me in order to achieve success in my education and career.”
During his time at A&M, Konderla learned that working hard makes success that much sweeter. On top of his work and studies, he also participated in the Phi Beta Lambda Business Fraternity, The Big Event, Youth Ministry with St. Joseph Catholic Church and St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
“I knew that Texas A&M was a special place,” he said. “Texas A&M is truly a part of who I am. I am beyond proud to be an Aggie.”
Silver Taps and Muster are Konderla’s favorite Aggie traditions, which he claims illustrate the core of the love shared among Aggies. “Where else do you see a family born of different parents and places come together to dwell upon that gift which our Creator gives us, as we hold reverent the end of a family member’s walk here in this life?”
Following graduation, Konderla was hired to open five jewelry stores in the Austin area and says he learned a tremendous amount in a very short period of time about running a business. He quickly realized that working jewelry retail didn’t allow for a very flexible work/personal life balance, so he left his job and began working in sales in the medical field. Despite his career change, he still kept in touch with his contacts in the jewelry industry and would occasionally assist friends and family with their need for jewelry.
By 1997, Fifth C Fine Jewelry had become Konderla’s side business through which he assisted family and friends. He assumed it would continue to exist only as his secondary source of income, but word of his small business kept circulating, and finally in January 2010, Fifth C was generating enough business to become his primary career.
Konderla cherishes the special part he plays in the ‘big plan’ of a client—from asking for a hand in marriage, welcoming a new baby into the world or saying ‘I do’ again, fifty years after the first time.
“I love hearing from clients how the jewelry went over. I love moments spent in prayer with a young man as he prepares to leave with an engagement ring,” said Konderla “Fifth C allows me to do what I love.”
By Anna Eubank ’13
Chuck ’95 and Lori ’94 Konderla have five children: Matthew, Sara, Mark, John and Erika. He currently serves on the Bryan City Council and on the Board of Directors for the Bryan Animal Center and the BCS Convention & Visitors Bureau. Chuck Konderla is also the city liaison to the Bryan Independent School District and is a member of the City of Bryan Audit Committee. He is the past commissioner for the City of Bryan Planning & Zoning.
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Assistant Vice President for Development
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences