A few days ago I sat down with Andrew Jason, Special Projects Coordinator at Emerging Prairie, to talk more about his career, life journey, and how he ended up at Emerging Prairie.
Andrew grew up in rural northern Minnesota and went to high school in Blackduck, where he was one of 55 in his senior class. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and appreciated growing up in a small town,” he said. “…I was able to participate in most extracurricular activities, had great friends, and felt like I made the most out of my high school experience.”
From there, he went to college at Minnesota State University Moorhead and graduated with degrees in journalism and Spanish. (Fun fact: he was also involved with Students Today, Leaders Forever, which was also founded by Emerging Prairie co-founder, Greg Tehven. Small world!)
While the classes and diplomas were great, Andrew said that there were three experiences in college that had the biggest impact on his life.
- Studying abroad in Oxford, England. “It taught me the world is so much bigger than I thought, and yet we’re all similar.”
- Interning at Spotlight Media. “Little did I know the impact this internship would have on my life.”
- Open-heart surgery: “When I was 21, I had to have open heart surgery due to a number of complications. This really showed me the fragility of life and the importance of living in the now.”
Andrew said that he owes his entire professional career to Mike Dragosavich, founder of Spotlight Media, a media company in Fargo. “While in school, I got an internship at Spotlight and eventually worked my way up to the Editorial Director position overseeing a team of a dozen talented creatives and publishing more than 400 magazines. During that time, I experienced the highs and lows of scaling a business, and I loved every minute of it.”
All of this has led Andrew to Emerging Prairie. During his time in magazine publishing, he often covered Emerging Prairie and the impact we were having on the community. “I was tired of simply covering the news, and decided I wanted to be the one making the news. That led me to Emerging Prairie”.
Entrepreneurship guides our economy and strength, and I’m always interested to learn how it has affected the lives of those around me. You’d be surprised that, especially in our region, there are many people who have an entrepreneurial background, or were inspired by it, and Andrew Jason is no exception.
His very first job was working as a bagboy at Blackduck Family Foods, where he saw the two owners making an impact on the community and being responsible for their own destiny. In college, he saw his roommates getting weekend gigs shooting video and dreaming about owning a butcher shop. Fast forward ten years, they’re both entrepreneurs, and he was there to see the seed of their idea blossom.
“Entrepreneurship is what pushes our community forward. When I think of what restaurants I love the most, it’s the ones started by a brave and foolhardy founder. When I think of those who give back to our community, it’s the small business owners and employees.”
“Our community is our own, and we have to make our own destiny. That’s what entrepreneurship has taught me.”
For more news and articles on entrepreneurship, visit www.emergingprairie.com.