We’re big on celebrating associate milestones. 5, 10, and 15-year anniversaries are huge accomplishments – but these directors have spent multiple decades serving others. And at a recent internal meeting, they shared stories and lessons they’ve learned throughout their time at Nelnet.

20 Years

Joseph Meuse, Nelnet Business Services product management

Rachel Bertrand-Pultz, internal audit

Steven Schuttler, infrastructure administration

Tim Tewes, Nelnet president

25 Years

Jim Kruger, Nelnet chief financial officer

Mary Boisen, Firstmark administration

30 Years

Barbara Stromberg, operations and risk management

Chuck Norris, angel investments

When you meet new associates, what advice do you give them?

Steven: Enjoy the ride – change is constant and if you’re able to embrace that, you’re going to have a good time

Chuck: Find something you really like doing and (even if it’s not in your job description), go after it.

Barbara: Learn as much as you can about the role that you’re in and seek out opportunities. That’s going to open doors for you.

Tim: Stay curious. It’s kind of something you have when you’re in college, and you kind of lose it for a while. Curiosity is what allows companies to do new things, experiment, and create new opportunities.

Why have you chosen to stay at Nelnet throughout the years?

Rachel: Work-life balance is really important to me. I’ve always had the opportunity to go to kids’ activities, or if they were sick I didn’t have to worry about taking time off.

Joseph: I think because the job’s been different. It’s one thing to say I’ve been here for 20 years, but I can’t say I’ve been in the same job for 20 years.

Jim: It’s awesome when you can go to work and feel like you’re working with people that are not only coworkers, but also friends.

Mary: I’m a first-generation college graduate. For me, when I first started, I was looking to solve every student’s problems to make sure they got their money to go to college – because that was me standing in the financial aid line. And every delay affected me on a personal level. Access to education is part of who I am – how many people are lucky enough to do that for work?

Nelnet is dedicated to redefining “service” – what does that mean to you?

Joseph: Being flexible – staying open-minded and understanding where our customers need us to meet them. I think we have to accept the new reality of how things are merging and change a little bit.

Jim: It’s what we do every day: We serve our customers. It’s not only how we do it, but how we can do it better.

Chuck: Looking for customer pain points that they probably have never even thought about before.

Barbara: Adapting and changing to meet the new world. We need to be able to meet the needs of our customers and have products and services that speak to them.

How do you think we’re equipped to handle situations like COVID-19?

Steven: We have this track record of rallying behind problems and figuring out ways to tackle them and win it.

Tim: [Associates] just never stopped – it’s like we didn’t miss a beat! That has to be part of a can-do attitude. It’s our people, honestly. They’re kind of like our secret sauce – it gives you confidence that we can weather about any storm.

Mary: I just think if you put the right people and the right technology together, then give them the opportunity to collaborate and work together – I’ve seen us hit it out of the park more times than I can count over the last 25 years. Nelnet’s focus is on growth and diversification. Change is inevitable. It’s constantly changing and making changes to our culture, our people our processes. I feel like I’ve worked for four or five companies in that 30-year period of time.

We help our associates learn and grow into the best leaders, professionals, and people possible. Professional development is big – and it can be for you as well. Check out our job openings (or submit your resume if there’s not a listing in your field).