Coon Rapids student run his own business this summer

Jake Pedersen, a 2011 Coon Rapids High School graduate now studying at the University of Minnesota, will be operating his own business this summer.

Jake Pedersen
Jake Pedersen

Through an internship program at the U, where he is majoring in chemical engineering, Pedersen is starting up and will be running his own painting business with College Works Painters.

“This effort entails extensive training, my own marketing, hiring my own painters and finding and hiring my own paint crew,” Pedersen said.

According to Pedersen, College Works Painting hires college students to learn business skills through a hands-on internship running a branch of their business in the summer.

To be selected for the College Works Painting internship program, Pedersen went through an extensive interview process.

According to Pedersen, first there was an informational meeting followed by three interviews, one in-person, then by phone and then another in-person interview.

“The selection process for this interview is highly selective,” Pedersen said.

“For Minnesota 1 percent of the applicants were selected (24 out of 2,400 people).”

“I was selected for this program because of my extensive past achievements and eagerness to develop my leadership and management techniques.”

His senior year at high school, Pedersen began working at Lettermen Sports in Blaine and during the summer, he worked for the YMCA, counseling elementary school-aged kids while their parents were working during the day, he said.

According to Pedersen, he is now in training with College Works Painting in all areas essential to running a business – how to interview, hire and lead employees.

“We are also trained in accounting and marketing,” Pedersen said.

“In addition, we also go through a professional certification course so that we know as much as our painters and could do the actual painting if necessary.”

This also helps when talking with clients on the production process and how the job is going to proceed, Pedersen said.

“All of these skills are necessary to run a business smoothly and effectively,” he said.

His goal is to hire between 12 and 16 painters, which will allow him to put in place a couple of teams for the summer, Pedersen said.

Pedersen will be conducting interviews for those interested in the job during April, he said.

“I will be looking for individuals interested and excited to help me run my business,” Pedersen said.

“I am also looking for hard-working, reliable individuals with good customer service skills because customer satisfaction is perhaps the most important part of this business.”

Once the interviews are over, Pedersen said he plans to pick “those that I think will work the best with me and with the homeowners as well as put all of their effort into the job.”

The painters are trained through Sherwin Williams, which puts on a professional certification course to which all the painters are sent regardless of prior experience, he said.

By the end of the course, each painter will be professionally certified in exterior painting, Pedersen said.

The crews also have the chance to practice their skills on model homes before the first job to get some hands-on experience, Pedersen.

The painters also receive safety training, he said.

According to Pedersen, he has been going door-to-door in the Coon Rapids area asking people if they want a free estimate on exterior painting.

In addition, he has been handing out flyers and come summer, he plans to place several lawn signs in the area, Pedersen said.

“My goals for my business this summer are mainly to gain experience and run a smooth business,” he said.

“It also gives us a chance to make money to pay high tuition costs.”

College Works Painting offers incentives to its intern business owners throughout the summer, including one in customer service, in which the top manager in the country in that area will receive a scholarship to whichever school they are attending, Pedersen said.

Scholarships are also awarded to any business owner that goes accident free the whole summer, he said.

“Since both of these factors are incredibly important to my business, I am trying to go accident free through the whole summer and have a customer satisfaction rating of at least 97 percent,” Pedersen said.

“As well, I am striving to get reference letters from the homeowners for future use in my professional career.”

According to Pedersen, he is targeting the Coon Rapids and Andover area for customers, but once summer starts, he is free to market and search for customers anywhere.

This is usually a one-year internship program, but Pedersen said the top interns are asked to come back to either run a business for another year or mentor the next class of interns.

Once Pedersen received his chemical engineering degree, his goal is to work at either 3M or Boston Scientific, he said.

“My grandfather was a chemist at 3M and had a great experience,” Pedersen said.

“I look up to my grandfather and look to follow in his shoes at 3M.

“More specifically, I want to have a focus on renewable energy and would like to someday lead a research team investigating future energy sources.”

At Coon Rapids High School, Pedersen played soccer for three years and was on the varsity his senior year.

In addition, he was involved in Bible study, the wind ensemble and jazz band, playing the trumpet.

“I love to do anything outside, whether it is playing sports, going for a run, hiking, camping or boating,” Pedersen said.

“I also love to snowboard and snowmobile in the winter and water ski in the summer.”

Two of his favorite activities are paintballing and hunting, Pedersen.

For more information about Pedersen’s business, call 763-732-2512.

According to its website, College Works Painting gives undergraduate students an opportunity to build a competitive resume and gain marketing skills by teaching them how to manage their very own painting business.

Founded in 1993, College Painting Works operates in 19 states and paints more than 10,000 homes annually.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]