Love of animals leads to business ownership for REAP Entrepreneur of the Year

At the age of 5, Jennafer Glaesemann already knew what she wanted to do with her life. There was no question about it – she was going to be a veterinarian.

Growing up on a dairy farm, she often helped her father with late night check-ups on the mama cows, some of which suffered from a condition called milk fever. These cows had very low calcium levels, and needed to be given the mineral intravenously. Though she only held the flashlight, and watched her father perform the procedure, Jennafer recalls being taken with the notion of helping these animals.

“I was hooked with seeing that first geyser of blood from the needle,” she said. “Milk fever is one of few diseases where a relatively simple treatment can have a dramatic impact. Before treatment, these cows are down and often unable to get up; in some cases, it can be fatal.  Often, they are able to stand up after only a bottle or two of calcium – it was like watching real superhero powers in action.”

Jennafer’s passion for animals has grown over the years. Not only did she become a veterinarian, she now owns two clinics, Blue Valley Veterinary Clinic, in Beatrice, Nebraska, which she purchased in 2012, and Pickrell Veterinary Clinic, in Pickrell, Nebraska, which she purchased in 2013 with the help of a loan obtained through the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP).

The doctor’s continued dedication and service led the Center to choose her as the 2017 REAP Entrepreneur of the Year. Center staff recognized her at an award ceremony on March 9 in Red Cloud, Nebraska.

Each year, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award is presented to an individual or individuals who best exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that defines and is crucial to the future prosperity of Nebraska’s rural communities.

Both of the clinics Jennafer purchased were already established, with Blue Valley Veterinary Clinic serving the southeastern Nebraska area for 50 years. Pickrell Veterinary Clinic, founded by Dr. John McCubbin, has provided veterinary services for decades.

Jennafer credits much of her businesses’ growth and success to the assistance she received from the Center for Rural Affairs.  

“I worked with Janelle, and she was phenomenal,” said Jennafer. “She really believed in me and guided me through the REAP loan application process. I’m so grateful REAP helped me purchase my second business – I could not have done it without that financial assistance.”

“Jennafer expanded her business and services to two communities in southeast Nebraska,” said Janelle Moran, southeast loan specialist with the Center for Rural Affairs. “She has been recognized by her peers for her achievements, as well.”

In 2014, Glaesemann received the Early Achiever Award from the Nebraska Alumni Association, and Outstanding Young Veterinarian of the Year from the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association. In 2016, she received an Alumni Master Honor from the Nebraska Alumni Association.

Since taking ownership of the clinics, Glaesemann has made upgrades to help her practices run more smoothly. Pickrell has in-house diagnostic equipment to provide some test results within minutes. Blue Valley has also added more in-house diagnostic equipment, including a digital radiography suite, and has a renovated boarding kennel area.

Office hours have been extended to allow for appointments on select evenings and every Saturday afternoon. Jennafer holds weekly staff meetings to discuss a particular health care topic or disease, or ways to improve client and patient experience at the clinics.

In the future, she hopes to improve the large animal handling facilities at Blue Valley Veterinary Clinic, and restore those facilities to Pickrell.  

Hard-working and humble, Jennafer was shocked and flattered to receive Entrepreneur of the Year.

“I feel so honored,” she said. “There are a lot of incredible small businesses in Nebraska, and entrepreneurs working day in and day out trying to improve them, so it really means a lot to be selected for this award. And, I wouldn’t be here without the encouragement and perseverance in the loan application process, as well as the approval (and vote of confidence) by the REAP committee for the loan. They’ve been invaluable to me. I can’t thank you enough.”