Don Helgeson is the son of founder E.M. Helgeson and currently serves as GNP Company's Chairman of the Board after acting as Chief Executive Officer for more than 35 years. His vision and willingness to be bold is the reason why GNP Company is known, today, as the largest fully integrated chicken producer in the upper Midwest. In the early 1950's, Don's father was interested in liquidating the business that started as a hatchery in 1926. Don saw an opportunity in the new broiler business that was just taking off in the southern United States, and he and his brother Jerry purchased the company from their father. It was this turning point, along with a unique type of grower contract Don established, that propelled the business forward. It was also under Don's leadership that the company eventually became fully integrated. Don holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Macalaster College.
Working in the family business since he was 12 years old, Michael Helgeson had worked in virtually every area of the company before becoming Chief Executive Officer in 1993. He worked as a project manager in the broiler division; served as the purchasing/elevator manager in the feed and grain division; as a new products manager in the sales and marketing departments; and as human resources manager in the company's Cold Spring processing plant. Becoming involved in the business full time in 1975 (after working in the business during his school years), Michael spent his first two years of employment with the company in Indonesia, researching and developing a broiler operation from the ground up. He's always believed in the value of "learning by doing" to round-out formal education. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota and Masters of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas' Kotz Graduate School of Business.
With strong financial acumen, Steve Jurek currently leads the operations and administration teams of GNP Company, and also serves as Secretary/Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer. Steve joined GNP Company in 1977 after serving in a variety of financial positions for Fingerhut Corporation, based in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Prior to his present role, Steve worked in various divisions throughout GNP Company including Controller in 1981 and Vice Present of Finance and Administration, starting in 1988. Steve holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota and a Masters of Business Administration with a Finance emphasis from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. He is also a Certified Management Accountant.
Tim Wensman has gained lifelong knowledge of the chicken business from the ground up. Since 1980, he's worked in many areas of GNP Company. First joining the company's management team where he held the positions of Quality Control Manager, General Production Supervisor, Employee Relations Manager, and Assistant Plant Manager, Tim assumed the role of Vice President of Operations in December 1984. He's since held executive positions in corporate development and has served as Executive Vice President of Customer Processes (which includes sales, marketing and logistics) since 1997. Prior to joining GNP Company, Tim started his career in the food industry when he worked for Armour Food Company. There, he served in a number of leadership roles in human resources, quality assurance, and overall plant management. Tim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from St. John's University and a Masters of Business Administration from St. Cloud State University. He also completed the Executive Program at the Carlson School of Management (University of Minnesota).