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Ben Reynolds, Reynolds Transfer & Storage

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Ben Reynolds, director of operations, Reynolds Transfer & Storage.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

Personnel on both counts. The most stressful days in my career have involved mitigating interpersonal conflicts, disciplining employees, or having difficult coaching conversations. However, some of the most rewarding days have come as a result of those difficult ones. Seeing an employee change their behavior to improve their attitude and performance not only makes their career better but can also improve their outlook on life. Each time an employee improves after a difficult stretch, I’m overjoyed to see them happy and know that we helped inspire the positive change.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

Prof. Mark Finster, with whom I worked as a teaching assistant. Not only a talented teacher, Mark has spent decades consulting for organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to small nonprofits, on process improvement and sustainability. Mark did a mid-career pivot and moved from using math models to drive improvements to analyzing the sustainability performance of an organization to drive change. Through his work, he has helped drive strategy in organizations that has made the world a better place.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

Our parents have trusted us — myself and my siblings — to influence the strategy of our company over the last six years. Although this causes some anxiety, watching the company grow faster than our expectations during this time frame has been a wonderful and rewarding experience.

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Be quiet, listen, ask questions, listen, and then (maybe) offer advice. That said, I’m 31 and still struggle to follow that advice, so the same goes to 31-year-old Ben.

What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

The people in our lives. Personally, we’re fortunate to have friends and family that we see regularly without hassle, something that no other area would offer for us. Professionally, the energy, curiosity, and positive attitudes of the people I interact with make the workdays easy and enjoyable.

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

Surfing, although this is an ability and far from a talent. As a Midwesterner, I had mostly surfed on the rare travel occasion to a warm, wavy destination. However, recently a friend has brought me along for some outings on Lake Michigan. Despite the freezing air and water, we had a blast, and I find myself repeatedly checking the NOAA wave report to figure out when we can go again.

What are your guilty pleasures?

The Original Pancake House in Middleton. This is a go-to breakfast spot for my wife and I, and I always finish a four-egg omelet with hash browns, as well as some of Laura’s pancakes. This requires at least a half day to digest, during which I pretend to have learned a lesson. In high school, we used to have Saturday swim meets at Middleton and practice for two hours beforehand. Hungry and with a two-hour break, we would always go to OPH, eat too much, and then swim terribly. Well worth it!

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