At VFS one of our core values is to remain transparent with our clients. In an effort to live by this value, we want to give you a look inside the early life of our CEO, Randy Nelson. We sat down with Randy to see what most people may not know about his upbringing. Get to know our CEO, Randy Nelson…
Q: What are a few things people don’t know about your upbringing?
A: A lot of people know my story, I don’t hide much. A few things that might surprise some people…
- I grew up on a small farm in Minnesota. Two older sisters and 3 younger brothers, 6 kids total. My father worked the farm and was a full-time maintenance man at the local Municipal Airport (for 35 years). My mother was a stay at home mom until she took up real estate once all the kids were out of grade school. We were by definition, poor… but I didn’t know it at the time.
- Farm life was great but hard work. Twelve-hour days were not uncommon. The whole family pitched in and we did our ‘chores’ without the thought of getting paid. This instilled a work ethic and an appreciation of the team concept that I have to this day.
- We were primarily a cattle farm, we also grew corn and soybeans. One of my more vivid memories of the farm was helping with the ‘delivery’ of calves in the wintertime (the usual time for the cows to calve). Sometimes my father would still be at work and I had to do it myself. An unpleasant, messy, and sobering thing to do for a teenager at age 14, but necessary.
- Courage has always been a ‘core value’ for me, both within myself and what I like to see in others. Throughout my life, I have put myself in situations to help conquer fears. In grade school, I was petrified to speak in front of groups, so in the 7th grade, I joined the Competitive Speaking Team in High School. Three years later, as a freshman, I became the first person in my high school to go to the State Championships of Competitive Speaking.
- As graduating from high school approached, I was contemplating my future. I thought farm life was very respectable and a great way to raise a family… Plan A. I told my father that I wanted to be a farmer and that was one of the very few times I heard him use the ‘F’ word, he was not supportive of Plan A. He said, ‘You are going to get an education and be able to provide for your family better than I did’. Time for Plan B, I went to college and got a degree in Engineering.