After growing up in Lewiston and heading off to the University of Maine, Ben Lampron’s career led him to Minnesota. Decades of life experience led him to write “Jumpstart Your Future: Lessons Learned in Career Building, Personal Finance, and Relationships,” published this spring by Jones Media Publishing.
Name: Ben Lampron
Lives: Edina, Minnesota
When did you get the idea for “Jumpstart Your Future”? Throughout my career and my personal life I have had the opportunity to mentor many people. Outside of work I have spent much of my adult life coaching youth sports, running booster’s clubs and being involved at church. So many young people, regardless of socioeconomic background, have the same questions for me: How do I save, invest and build wealth? How do I get ahead in my career? How do I build strong relationships?
It dawned on me that there are so many things that we aren’t taught in schools that are mission-critical for success in life. Most of us learn these things throughout our lives. How powerful would it be if we had known then what we know now? That is the problem I tried to solve with this book.
What spurred you to start writing? And with three kids and a career, how did you find the time? Originally I was going to create an 8 to 10 page Powerpoint presentation to share with groups that were interested in hearing these lessons. Over the past several years I have carried a notebook around where I jot learnings down. They include notes, sketches and graphs that encapsulate a key point that I wanted to remember.
When COVID-19 hit, I found myself with some extra available time, and a mentor of mine suggested I write a book that passes that knowledge on to others. The process took about six months from beginning to end and I found that regularly scheduled times each week helped me complete it rather quickly. As I discuss in the book, a disciplined approach to most things is the best way to stay on course. As far as my kids go, I have two in college and one junior in high school and they have their own busy lives to live at this point!
How did you learn most of the advice you share in “Jumpstart”? I have been very fortunate in my life to have learned from wonderful teachers and mentors starting with my parents, Tony and Camilla. They taught me the value of hard work and to always be curious. I had great teachers and coaches at St. Dom’s including Jolene Girouard, Nancy Violette, Paul Cote and Br. Paul Lauze. I cannot underestimate the value of the education I received at St. Dom’s and consider it a blessing that I chose to attend school there.
There are professors at UMaine that taught me high-level engineering skills, but the UMaine Pulp & Paper Foundation took the time to prepare students for professional life in a real and meaningful way. I’ve learned from tremendous leaders in my professional, personal and community life. I read often — books on leadership and financial management mostly — and listen daily to podcasts to try to keep my skills sharp. The most important thing, however, is to be your own teacher, to pay attention to what works for you and others, and to learn quickly from your mistakes.
What’s the career path that led you to Minnesota? I graduated from St. Dom’s in 1991 and then went to the University of Maine in Orono where I graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1995. Later, in 2002, I earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. After graduating from UMaine, I spent 23 years with Honeywell International in a variety of sales, engineering and business leadership roles living in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, California and Wisconsin.
In 2008, I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to run a business unit for Honeywell, and have been here ever since. At the end of my time at Honeywell, I was general manager of the Americas region for the company’s industrial measurement and controls business. In 2018, I left Honeywell to join Metro Mold & Design in Rogers, Minnesota, where I serve as vice president of our commercial and industrial, reporting to the CEO of the company.
Love that your bio includes “avid liver of life” — what have been two of your biggest adventures? 1. My life’s biggest adventure is my marriage to Gretchen. We really value experiences over material things and try to live life to the fullest. Whether it’s traveling to a different country, working on new recipes together, going to concerts, or starting new projects at home, we work really hard to make every day count. I have a section in the book that talks about how to enjoy your money. It is really important to learn how to do that and to make your whole life adventurous in a way that works for you.
2. I have been to 153 professional baseball stadiums including the major leagues and the various minor leagues. By my count, there are 127 left to go in the U.S. and Canada and I hope some day to attend a game at all of them. I love baseball, and sitting in a stadium on a warm summer day is where I find my peace. I am able to check my stress off at the gate and immerse myself in the rhythm of the game. This hobby also allows my family and me to travel to parts of the country we wouldn’t otherwise visit. I will finally achieve my goal of visiting all 50 states when I go to Alaska this summer!
What’s something we should all start doing, this week, even if a gut reaction might be, “No way”? Whatever improvement you want to make in your life, take stock of where you really are! Most people talk about having goals: financial, fitness, relationship, etc. The first step that most people miss is, “Where am I really?” Being honest with yourself and taking a complete inventory of your current state is the most important step in improvement.
My biggest advice is to choose something you want to improve on, start now and start strong.