By Jeff Hagen – President of Grafton Staffing
How long have you worked for Grafton?
Just 19 years. It’s been a great place for me to grow in my career. I started out filing and working on reports for our accounting department. Eventually, I settled into the CFO role for a number of years. I was asked to be President in 2010 and started getting out of the office more.
I’ve been able to focus on some community and regional initiatives. We’ve built a successful training program. We’ve helped community leaders prioritize talent development programs. That was quite a change for the introvert I am/was. It’s been fun.
It’s difficult to believe how far I’ve come when I think of the young(er) man I was 19 years ago.
What advice would you give to a job applicant?
Obviously, I’ve seen a lot in my days here. If I had more time I would write a book on the subject. So here is my answer… If I ever needed to find another place to work, I would spend as much time interviewing the company as they do interviewing me.
Do some research. Ask questions! A paycheck is important, but enjoying your work and who you are working for matters a lot. You can’t learn those things without asking good questions across multiple interviews.
What’s something about you that would surprise people?
I’ve started to use Star Wars LEGO as nick-knacks in my house. I love Star Wars. I love LEGO. (I just have to be vigilant when younger kids come to visit.)
What was your favorite vacation?
The first time I took my two daughters to Nashville.
Neither of my daughters were big country music fans. We got tickets to the Grand ol’ Opry. They must have been 10-12 years old at the time. Each had a dress to wear that night, but once we got to town they decided they needed cowboy boots to wear with them. It was so much fun to see them run around trying on different boots. They wore the boots out of the store and wouldn’t take them off the rest of the night!
Little Jimmie Dickens was the host back then, and the girls just fell in love with his bright blue sequin jacket and sense of humor. We had a great time, and both have been country music fans ever since.
How do you balance your career at Grafton and family?
My teenage daughters are still talking to me, so I think I’ve done OK.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to make their events a priority. We also find time to spend with each other one-on-one. I’ll take one of the girls out to dinner while their Mom takes the other. Thankfully they both like baseball so we’ve spent a lot of time out at the K.
Of course, working on a laptop while watching TV or after they went to bed was fairly common. My goal was to be present with them when they were around, and work when they were doing other things. I enjoy working and they understand that. I’ve been fortunate my family understands and supports that.