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All State Communications

Jared Gapinski
All State Communications

Class of 2011

Jared Gapinski was included in the Class of 2011 because of his business leadership in All State Communications as well as his civic and volunteer roles. Since then he has developed a new entrepreneurial venture.

What are you doing now?

I am the president of All State Communications after selling to Arvig. I am in my 11th year on the Sauk Rapids Fire Department, and my wife and I also started a company called Seasoned To Go. We currently have a portable seasoning kit available, and a portable bloody mary kit is coming out in September.

How did the 5 Under 40 award affect your life?

It was definitely an honor to have received this award, I would like to thank the St. Cloud Times and their committee! I also would like to thank Joe Benson, who nominated me for this award. I look forward to seeing who receives the 5 Under 40 this year!

Other big changes since you received the award?

Other than us starting the new business, not much really has changed. I am no longer on the Sauk Rapids City Council; however, I may look at options for other offices in the future.

What will make the St. Cloud area greater in coming years?

I would say having all the cities continue to work together for the greater good of Central Minnesota. We need to keep pushing for new business to come to this area. That helps with taxes, and it obviously brings more jobs to the area.

2011 Interview

Originally ran: January 8, 2012

Jared Gapinski started All State Communications 16 years ago, and the company has flourished with double-digit increases in sales each of the past two years. Despite economic uncertainty, he has increased staff to 60 employees and expanded his company.

All State includes voice and data cabling and communications; security and closed-circuit television; life safety and fire alarms; wireless nurse call systems; networking sound/paging; and converged technologies. His company is working with the state of Minnesota to get a wireless nurse call system approved. The system eventually could be used in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, clinics and hospitals.

What was the influential factor that led you to your current career?

It's a couple of things. Number one, I lived in Champlin and I hated it in the Cities. I was 22 and, at that age, I wanted to get into sales. My business mentor — and I'll never forget this — basically said I was too young to sell. I worked for him as a technician. I was recruited by this company, an industry leader in a communications business just like this, and I worked my way up. I would work during the day and then at 3:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m., I would come in and sell.

When I said I wanted to be in full-time sales, he said, "You're kind of young." I asked if he wanted to start a branch office up here (in Central Minnesota). He didn't, and I did. We agreed by handshake that I wouldn't go after his employees or customers for two years. I lived up to that and, in fact, we've shared work back and forth ...

When I started this, what's the old cliche? You start out of a garage? That's exactly what I did. I would sell during the day and go and help install during the evening.

What's the best part of your workday?

Honestly, the best part of my workday is seeing what everybody here has accomplished. It really is refreshing to come in knowing you don't have to police people. We've built between all of us a staff, whether it's in the field or the office, that cares. That's how we've built this company. Everybody has to care about everybody else's position.

It's not a huge business, but it's not small. We'll do about $10 million in revenue this year. We've weathered the (sluggish economy), but I don't let our crew buy into that. There's still work out there. You may not get it as easily as you got it before, so you've got to work a little harder. I know the last three years, we've increased our revenue margin.

You have a three-day weekend with no obligations. How do you spend it?

If I get a three-day weekend, we're up at our camper in Nisswa. We try to go up there on Friday nights in the summer and come back on Sunday. It's nice, but cellphones still reach there. The Internet still reaches there. My pager doesn't reach there, so I don't have to respond to fire calls. We also hunt in Baudette and South Dakota.

How do you continue to learn new skills that will keep you on the cutting edge of your business?

I truly believe it comes from hiring the right expertise. For one person to stay in touch with all of the evolving technology out there, it's impossible. It really comes down to: You need to have a core staff. That's what we try to do.

We're able to go out and get quality people. We pay very good wages, and people deliver what they say they're going to deliver. But if you don't stay ahead of the technology, it will gobble you up.

This isn't to say I don't learn it; it's just that I have to get it at the 10th tier versus the 13th and 14th tier. You hire for that.

How do you see the greater St. Cloud area in 20 years and what would be your role in it?

I'm a little partial to Sauk Rapids. I personally think Sauk Rapids is the next big area to really develop around here. I think Sauk Rapids has some huge development areas, and all we need to do is continue to keep the ball rolling.

Central Minnesota is an incredible area. You've got the best of both worlds — freeways going east, west, north, south — and you're an hour away from everything — the Cities, Alexandria, Willmar, Brainerd. It's the best place to live and relocate because you have that availability. It's a decent-sized area with a suburb and rural feeling.

I more than likely will not be running for council next time. The reason is when our mayor resigned last summer, we had some candidates that came in, 12 or so, to get interviewed to be appointed. There were some great candidates.

I'm not there because of me. Obviously, I want to do the right things, but I think everybody should have the opportunity to do something like that. I hope we get a bunch of people running, because they've got great ideas. I want to reserve my right to come back at a later time and possibly run for council or mayor in the future.

Right now, between the business, my family, the council, running a lot of fire calls for the council, when you say three-day weekend, I'm like, "What's that?"

Age: 39

Family: Wife, Molly. They have two sons and two daughters

Education: Foley High School.

FYI: Gapinski is a member of the Sauk Rapids City Council and serves on the volunteer fire department.

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