Creating an awesome work environment By Dana Staats September 27, 2020

On the Run with Erik Brown

Nelnet IT Director Erik Brown is on the run, because he knows keeping up with healthy habits is a marathon, not a sprint. “What I’ve learned is that you just have to do it. You have to get out there and make it happen. In the midst of a marathon, or in the middle of training, when I don’t want to do it – you just have to run.” Recently, Erik slowed down just enough to tell us about his running journey.

What inspires you every day?

As corny as it sounds, it’s my relentless desire to do more. Perfect analogy for this – I ran an ultramarathon a couple years ago. People were like “why would you do that? You can already run a marathon.” Well, because it’s there. You can always stop where you are – but why? You can always do more.

How did you get into running?

I’d need to go back to 2018. I had set a goal for myself: Run a thousand miles in a year. It sounds like a fun goal, but it becomes wearing to have to run every single day to make that goal happen. I finished up the year with a thousand and change. I got it done, but there was a time that I didn’t think I was going to.

I was chosen this year to be one of the people to run in the New York City marathon for the adoption agency we used to adopt our daughter. But, because of COVID, the marathon was cancelled, so we’re hoping for a deferral to 2021 or 2022. It’s a bucket list race for sure.

How has Nelnet supported your wellness goals?

Nelnet has been a supporting member in my journey. They put the focus and emphasis on us: We’re in charge of our own wellness. I’ve worked for companies before where it’s like “here’s your insurance premium, have a nice day, sorry.” Whereas, at Nelnet, you have the power to pay as little or as much as you want to. It’s your journey. If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your health premiums to zero. On top of that, with the HealthyMeBuck$ reimbursement, that supplements what you need to make that happen, it’s the overall package. It’s not just words. It’s a culture from Jeff Noordhoek all the way down.

Ready to start your own wellness journey? Check out the wealth of resources available on WellAware. Not part of the Nelnet team yet? Check out our available opportunities!




Dana Staats

Senior Corporate Communications Writer