Our Past Executive in Residence-
2011-2012 Executive in Residence- Bill Pelfrey
A self-described "George Plimpton of the business world," Bill left his traditional business career in 2006 after nearly two decades of adventurous education to have absolute flexibility over his daily schedule while continuing to do what he has always loved-building new things. He started by pursuing one of his longtime passions, documentary filmmaking, and earned his first producer credit in 2007 for his work on FAT, a PBS documentary produced with Twin Cities Public Television. He is currently a student at the Loft in Minneapolis where he is diligently working to put his stories into print (and catch up with Plimpton). Bill has continued getting his 'fix' of business building through his own company, Red Barn Development LLC, whose goal is to help establish the next generation of hundred-year enterprises-the barns of the 21st century. After a brief distraction as a board member with several venture-backed and private-equity owned companies in 2008 and 2009, Bill returned to his passion for building something enduring and great and partnered with Consumer's Medical Resource in Massachusetts to expand the company's service for people diagnosed with severe illness to the rest of the world. Prior to jumping off the train, Bill was at UnitedHealth Group, where he was a senior executive responsible for identifying strategic future-growth initiatives for the company and leading their development. His latest role there was as President of Consumer Solutions, United's consumer-focused business unit which included HealthAllies, a provider of discount health services for employers and associations and Definity Health, an early innovator in consumer-directed health plans. Bill joined UnitedHealth Group in 2001 as President of Optum, a premier provider of decision support services within the Specialized Care Services division. He led the transformation of Optum from an EAP/Nurseline business into a decision support company with a broad portfolio of services from wellness programs to disease management services. Previously, Bill was a Managing Director with Piper Jaffray, a growth company investment bank. There he led the development and success of Piper's Venture Capital Services Group and was a member of the Investment Committee for Piper's late-stage private equity fund. Bill was at Piper from 1996 until 2001. Early in his career, Bill was a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting's reengineering and change management practice, a group he helped establish. He earned his MBA from Stanford University (where he also took acting and fencing classes) and his B.S. in economics from St. John's University, where he graduated summa cum laude. Bill lives on a farm in semi-rural Grant, Minnesota with his organic-farmer wife, Rebecca and their 3 children, 4 horses, 18 pigs, 40 sheep and countless chickens (Don't ask about the turkeys). It has become his personal laboratory for educating himself on sustainability and renewable energy as well as the sport of motocross and the art of flying on two wheels. Bill is an Entrepreneur Scholar sponsor, an active volunteer at the McNeely Center and was voted Volunteer of the Year in 2009. His time, experience and expertise are very valuable and sought after by the students. We are very thankful to have Bill as our first Executive-in-Residence.