“Everyone has a popcorn story,” says University of Iowa business alum Steve Huisenga. “Popcorn brings happy memories to people – it reminds them of a good time in their lives.” That’s one of the reasons Huisenga enjoys working for the American Pop Corn Company in Sioux City, Iowa.
The American Pop Corn Company is responsible for Jolly Time, one of the most recognized brands of popcorn in the world. The oldest popcorn company in the United States, the American Pop Corn Company is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and is run by 4th and 5th generation family members. Their Sioux City plant has packaged more than 2 billion bags of microwave popcorn.
Huisenga earned his BBA in Marketing from the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business in 1988. After graduation, he moved to Minneapolis for a few years, but was happy to have the opportunity to move back to his native Sioux City for his job with the American Pop Corn Company in 1990. He and his wife Julie (who earned a BBA in Accounting from the UI Tippie College in 1988) were excited to live near family again.
Huisenga credits his Iowa business education with his success in the workplace. “Having an Iowa business degree prepared me for everything,” he explains. “Iowa provides a solid business education and I find myself drawing on that education all the time.”
Huisenga enjoys the challenges and the benefits of working for a smaller company. “Most of our competitors are large corporations. We are in a mature category and we have to be innovative in all we do. We are consistently thinking of how we can do things differently to help the company grow.”
As VP of Sales, Huisenga travels all the time. But, for this native Iowan, there is no place like home. “Iowa is a great place to live and raise a family. The quality of life, the people, and great universities like the University of Iowa, are all reasons why we chose to live here.”