Current People: Jon Kester

Jon Kester

Homecoming wouldn’t be the same without football, and football is exactly what Jon Kester ’02 does all year. Employed by the Green Bay Packers, Kester serves as liaison between the community and the team, helping to coordinate events at Lambeau Field. His path to the Packers was a reward that came from determination and love of the game.

From Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, and a Packers fan from the start, Kester chose Winona State University because of the small-town feel and beautiful campus. At WSU, he built important skills such as critical thinking, leadership, and goal setting. After graduating with degrees political science and public administration, he decided to further his education. “I’ve always been interested in sports,” says Kester, “and I knew sports management was a good fit for me.” In 2004 he earned a master’s at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Kester spent several years working for the La Crosse Loggers, an ultimate fighting training center, and the La Crosse Night Train, an indoor football team. Meanwhile, his interest in physical activity turned into a passion for bodybuilding and strongman competitions. Competing on a regional and state level, he gradually moved through the ranks. “It’s a slow process, to build up enough strength to compete in strongman,” he says. “But I set goals and discovered that hard work is rewarded.”

This same persistence is what brought Kester to the Packers. After researching opportunities, Kester approached the organization and waited for a response. Finally, the HR director, a fan of strongman, recognized Kester’s name and wanted to meet him in person.

Kester has worked in Atrium Operations ever since, ensuring that events at Lambeau Field run smoothly. The lessons learned at WSU have served him well. “I learned a lot about leadership styles in my political science courses,” says Kester. “When you have 30,000 people at an event, it’s important to keep it a safe and positive experience.” He also says that an international relations course helped him relate with the 250 full-time and 750 seasonal employees who assist during the NFL season.

Each year brings something different, but one thing remains constant: the joy on people’s faces as they come to Lambeau. “It’s a special place to be. Green Bay has a small town charm, and the players are not flashy. The team reflects the community.”

Highlights of Kester’s career with the Packers include everything from a trip to the 2011 Super Bowl to escorting player Clay Matthews through a mob of autograph-seeking fans. Through it all, Kester is thankful for his experience at WSU. “From my roommate, Mark Finucan, to the faculty, to my advisor, Matt Bosworth, I was surrounded by people who wanted me to succeed,” says Kester. “They helped me find a career that I really love, and I’m very grateful for that.”

-Margaret Cox

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About Winona State University

Founded in 1858, Winona State University is a comprehensive public university with more than 8,500 students. The oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, Winona State offers 80 undergraduate, pre-professional, licensure, graduate, and doctorate programs on its three campuses: the original Main Campus in Winona, the West Campus in Winona, and Winona State University-Rochester.

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