A big congratulations and a tremendous thank you goes out to Nuss Rochester parts manager Jon (Harv) Christenson who retired after 24 years on April 28th, 2023. The company celebrated and honored Harv at our Rochester location. Harv and his wife Dawn plan to enjoy some downtime, hang with their son Josh, play some golf, and do some traveling. Harv started with Nuss in Mankato on the parts counter then moved to Rochester as the parts manager. Make sure to tell him congratulations!!!!
We had the honor to sit down and ask Harv some reflective questions about work, life and what the future might look like. Enjoy the stories and great insights!
Interview with Jon (Harv) Christenson in Rochester, MN:
What did you love most about your job with Nuss?
What I liked about it most is the fact that every day there was something new to do, and the days just flies by. It’s like you are busy all the time, you’ve got all this process in motion trying to take care of customers. On the parts side, of course, we are trying to get parts in here of course and just making it flow from when you order the part to when it goes to the customer. I really enjoyed researching and coming up with products to promote and make deals and procure stuff for us to promote and sell. That was really fun, too. The last couple of years it has been a little more challenging because of COVID you couldn’t get stuff. But it’s been really the fun part of the job. Making sure you get people taken care of. You’ve got a guy with an issue and you put a smile on his face and he goes back out the door again. You’ve solved his problem. And that’s part of being a parts person, being a problem solver and coming up with solutions for customers, that’s huge.
What would you want to tell someone about working at Nuss? Maybe someone new?
It’s a family-owned company that’s gotten really big, but it still doesn’t feel big. It’s helped us here in Rochester because Bob has an office in the corner, the owner is here. He comes around, he’s visible. They truly do care about their people, you’re not just a number, not just an employee per se. It’s a way that the atmosphere is, the culture is at Nuss. You feel like you are wanted and needed and they appreciate you. They really do.
What was one of the biggest hurdles or obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your career?
It’s the procurement of COVID. The COVID process, was pretty much a year and a half of hell, to be honest with you. That was the toughest part of it. But other than that, it hasn’t been that bad.
Who were some of your biggest influences?
Industry-related, the guy whose place I took, Dean B. He taught me a lot about parts and he’s just a great guy. He was a good leader. He’s been a big inspiration to me. Outside of work, there are quite a few. My dad was, he’s been gone quite a few years now, but he taught me work ethic, taught me to do something with my life, find something you like to do and do it. That’s pretty important to me, too. Had a couple of teachers that influenced me pretty well.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In the summertime, I play a lot of golf. I enjoy playing “Teed it up for the Troops”. I have a membership to the city courses.
What does your perfect weekend look like?
Round of golf, sitting on the deck, having a cocktail and a nice meal. I also own a boat, a runabout. I used to waterski and taught my son to waterski. When we lived in Mankato we used to spend a lot of time on the lakes, there were 8 lakes within 20 miles of Mankato, hop on the boat after work. Now we do the river or Lake Zumbro.
Do you have any causes that you are passionate about?
There are a few. The cancer society, especially because we have lost a few family members to cancer. We also support our church.
What does your dream retirement look like?
It’s kind of funny because I’ve had people ask me this and bounced it around a lot, it took me a while to decide to retire. One of those, they said, the first thing you will realize is that you can sleep. You don’t wake up in the middle of the night wondering if this got done or that. Having the freedom to go do a lot of things. We have a lot of family around the country, just having the freedom to jump in the car and go. Be able to spend time with our son. I have a pretty big honey-do list. Gotta work on that, cause you know, haven’t had much time to work on that stuff.
Tell us a little bit about your family:
I’ve been married for 35+ years, we have one son, Josh, 29, who got married last year and works up in the cities in Eagan. We have a 13-year-old dog, Maisy, a yellow lab, a total sweetheart.
Tell us about your wife:
We met way back out of high school. She was in the same class as my younger brother. There were five of us kids. That’s when I first met her, we dated a little bit. Went on our separate ways for a while, but she did the four-year degree in about 8 years, stuck with it, and changed majors 4 times. She worked for a lot of non-profits, was passionate about that, was program director for the Girl Scouts, took a group on boundary water trips, and took a group to Denmark for 2 weeks, it was amazing, then she went to work for the YMCA in Grand Rapids. That’s where I met the Nuss Trucking Company up there that had Macks. Worked with Mark Nygard back then when he was the parts manager. He taught me a lot. Gary Reed is the one who called me to come to work for Nuss. It was 1999 when I went down. When we moved to Mankato, she worked in the school district as a para. She’s also a quilter who makes beautiful quilts, snowshoes, and skis, and a great baker…the guys are going to miss that.
What is an important skill that a successful person needs to have?
I think you have to be able to find something that you like to do and then you can be passionate about what you are doing. Find something that you really enjoy and that you want to do. And it won’t even be as much of a job. You’ve got to come to work and like what you do. Have compassion. Be able to communicate with your people. Be able to get along. Be a good person. Be humble. Don’t pigeonhole people. Help your people succeed.