Member Profile: Jay Helgren, Vercon Inc.

March 31, 2015 at 10:13 am

Citrus Bowl BoundPersonal Summary
I was born in Green Bay, WI and grew up in Oshkosh as a Packer fan (I shook Ray Nitschke’s hand when I was 10 – it was bigger than my head!). There was no worse team in the world than the hated Vikings…until we moved to Minnesota when I was 10 and I turned into a Vikings fan a month later. Oh well. My parents bought a house in Mound (only $40k!) on this little lake called “Minnetonka” on the west side of town in 1972. We enjoyed boating during the summers, and back then Big Island was just a nice family picnic spot where you could let the anchor out and chase your younger brothers around with seaweed. I guess times have changed…just a bit.

I started my college career at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, famous for their “One Course at a Time” schedule, and also played on the basketball and golf teams. After a year traveling in the international singing/entertainment group Up With People (where I met my wife Kathi), I transferred to the U of M and graduated from the Carlson School. I followed that up with an MBA from St. Thomas a few years later. We were the last class to graduate before they moved into their beautiful new downtown Minneapolis campus…so close!

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My father had a career in residential and commercial real estate sales and then ultimately as a residential appraiser, which is where my love for the business most likely originated. Never far from the building/real estate industries, I’ve worked for Honeywell, Trane, Greystone Construction and now Vercon, Inc., a commercial contractor and custom home builder as the VP of Sales and Marketing. We just opened a new office in Plymouth last summer and are looking forward to expanding our business in the metro area. At one point I got my residential appraiser’s license and was planning to join my father in the business, only to have the market crash in the mid-90s shortly after I became certified. I helped him on the side for a few years doing analysis and driving all over the cities taking comp pictures, but never made the full-time jump into the business. I enjoy all aspects of the building process and still learn something new every week.

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My wife and I have really enjoyed being empty-nesters…at least we did until our daughter (and her dog) moved back in with us last fall. So much for peace and quiet. Jordan (25) is a buyer for Wilson’s Leather and relocated back here after a stint in Milwaukee for the Bon-Ton Stores. She went to UW-Madison but we don’t hold that against her. Our son Tanner (21) will graduate from the U of M (he did it the right way) in May and is looking to start his career in sales. He’s had good parenting and now pushes his chair in after dinner, so I’m sure he’ll make some company very happy they hired him! Kathi is the HR Partner for Shred-it’s central region and stays very busy after their merger with the data destruction division of Cintas last year. In our spare time we willingly spend a lot of it hanging out with the kids. Golfing, boating, enjoying Minnesota summers and spending time with friends rounds out the rest of our free time.

Entry filed under: Member Profiles.

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