Our show today highlights Nelnet. Nelnet started as a student loan processing company, but has expanded into an array of different services and products. They currently generate 1.2 billion dollars of revenue every year and have offices across America. We first sit down with Jeff Noordhoek, Nelnet’s president, to learn exactly what Nelnet does to make money. Then, we chat with co-founder and Chairman of the board, Mike Dunlap, to learn more about how Nelnet got its start and the direction their heading today. While researching beforehand, we noticed Mike hardly ever sits down with the press, which made us incredibly grateful for his time.
Nelnet’s business model is nuanced enough that I didn’t completely understand what they did before making this episode. Their foresight to change from exclusively processing student loans is pretty innovative. Two tidbits from our conversation with Mike stuck with us. First, was his awareness to use the resources available to him. Obviously, a big part of this success story is the family ties between Nelnet and Union Bank. While we all don’t have family banks to support our pursuits, recognizing and utilizing the resources available to us, such as friends, tax benefits, or local advisors, is critical to success. The other takeaway was the amount of thought Mike has put into improving our regional economy. The way he talks about Hudl, Nebraska Angles, and the flywheel taking place in the midwest makes me comforted that he’s a leader in our business community.