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Many high school students aren’t sure what they want to do when they graduate.
But Garrett Jacobsen figured out his career path early and has returned to Neligh to fulfill his goal.
He plans to become a third generation business owner.
Jacobsen, 22, graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on May 5, and started working for Taylor Realty and Appraisal and Schacht Abstract and Title Company in Neligh just two days later. The businesses are owned by Bennie and MaryEllen Taylor of Neligh.
“I knew I wanted to come back and work with my grandpa,” Jacobsen said.
The 2014 Neligh-Oakdale graduate said it was his high school’s work release program that led him to his career. The program allows seniors to work part-time during their final semester if their graduation requirements have been met. He started working for his grandpa in January of his senior year.
“I think from the very first day he started working here he knew this is what he wanted to do,” Bennie Taylor said. “He likes being outdoors and enjoyed going out on inspections with me.”
Jacobsen said he also experienced similar work with another company in high school.
“In my senior strategies class with Mrs. (Cindy) Hild, she encouraged me to shadow someone else,” he said.
Jacobsen went on a one-day job shadow with Lori (Eichberger) Johnson, a Neligh native who worked at a Lincoln-based appraisal company. He said the Lincoln company does more commercial appraisals, rather than agricultural, but he still enjoyed the experience and knew that’s what he wanted to do.
After high school, Jacobsen enrolled at UNL as a business administration major.
“I switched majors second semester of my freshman year to do something more ag-based because we do a lot of ag appraisals,” he said.
Jacobsen earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics.
Taylor said his grandson was a good student at UNL and is a good employee. Jacobsen worked in Neligh during some holiday breaks and the summertime while he was in college.
“Now he understands how this all works,” Taylor said. “A lot of times when you have a trainee come in, it takes a few weeks or months to get up to speed. He was able to walk in the door ready to go. I could turn him loose on it. I just have to answer a few questions and sign off on it.”
Jacobsen still has classroom hours and work experience hours to complete before he can get the licenses he needs to operate on his own.
“It will take him a couple years to get all he needs to get his certified general license,” Taylor said. “The new rule says you can’t do it in less than 2 1/2 years. He has to have someone review his work, and that’s why grandpa’s still hanging around.”
The 78-year-old business owner said the timing works well.
“I’ve thought about retiring a few times,” he said. “When people turn 62 or 65 they usually start to look at retirement, but I knew that I didn’t want to retire that early.”
Taylor has been in the abstract business for more than six decades.
His uncle, Walter Schacht, started the business in 1948 with a desk and a typewriter. He asked Taylor to work with him and learn the abstract business.
“I must be a slow learner because it’s been 61 years, and I’m still here,” he said with a laugh.
After purchasing the business from his uncle in 1965, Taylor later expanded his services to include title insurance and a real estate brokerage firm and appraisal.
Not only is the timing right for his retirement, he said his grandson is a good match for the business.
The son of Dave and Traci Jacobsen, Taylor said Jacobsen’s family has lived in Neligh for many generations, so many people are familiar with him.
“And I have introduced Garrett to a lot of people while he’s been working for me,” he said. “He will have his foot in the door because he has already made those connections. I think it will be a good situation.”
Jacobsen said some changes to the business may include upgrading technology and possibly adding farm management services in the future. He plans to keep the same 420 M St. location and hours, Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.
Jacobsen said he is adjusting well to moving back. He has purchased a home, helps coach Legion baseball and plays in the men’s golf league at the Antelope Country Club. Jacobsen said he likes living in Neligh again.
“I have a lot of friends in the area still. All my family is here and all of my grandparents live here,” he said. “I enjoyed growing up here. So far, it’s been good being back.”