Photo of Jon Roeschlein

CROOKSTON, Minn. - While working in an industry with an ever changing environment and constant technological developments, University of Minnesota Crookston alumni, Jon Roeschlein 1985, resorts back to the “core values”  he learned as a student. Roeschlein was recently hired as district administrator for the Sauk River Watershed District and has been in the watershed industry for over thirty years as well as the Bois de Sioux district. In the beginning of his career in Sauk River, he was also the ditch and permit manager. For a better understanding, Roeschlein had a detailed description of his role. “I was the staff person in charge of conducting inspections and supervising the repair processes along with many other aspects of the statutory requirements.  I also worked with the drainage authority for the decisions they needed to make. The SRWD also has a permitting program to further their goals of protecting and/or improving water quality within our jurisdiction. I was in charge of processing those permits, conducting inspections, enforcement, and database management,” says Roeschlein.

Jobs like that have a lot of moving parts and require attention to detail when it comes to decision making. As a natural resources conservation student, Roeschlein credits the ecology and natural resource management courses that were offered at UMN Crookston, “It helped me understand the goals and purpose of wetland management,” says Roeschlein, “My training at UMC has established those core values in my mind.”       

With a good head on his shoulders and a respectable resume in his field, one would look in Roeschlein’s direction for advice. When we asked what Roeschlein had to offer for future UMC students, his response emanated with ambition. “Be sure to apply yourself in learning the information UMC is teaching you because, when you move into a career, that information will be invaluable.  Even the psychology courses are helpful.  You will never be alone in your career so knowing a little about how people tick is very important,” he said.  Roeschlein went on to say careers are built on relationships and knowledge.  “Be prepared to continue learning, even after college.  I have been working in this field for over 35 years and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new.”

A big part in Roeschlein’s success is the people he surrounded himself with. A common thread shared throughout the business community and the job force is how a resourceful mentor can help one achieve their goals. Early on in his career, he learned the most by picking the right people to follow. Not to mention his father, whom he describes as his most important mentor. “Throughout my career, I have experienced good days and bad days.  My father taught me to look for the “bright spot”, no matter how challenging or tough things get. There is always a bright spot. This helps maintain a positive attitude. I have found that doing so, one can overcome those challenges that appear daunting and, done with a positive attitude, actually be used to your advantage and show progress,” he said. As his career progressed, he grew into that very role, guiding those that are in need of direction.          

In the final thoughts of our interview, there was one piece of advice that stood out to me that expressed Roeschlein’s insightfulness of himself and his surroundings in the workplace. “Listening to understand rather than to respond is another characteristic that has served me well as I have progressed in my career. Many people tend to argue because they are not listening to understand what is being said.  I have noticed this happening more in the younger generations,” Roeschlein states. “But, I have found, if I listen to understand what someone is telling me, that is when I learn something new.”

Photo: Jon and his late father, who to this day is his most powerful influence.

Story Contact: Shawn Smith - - (218) 281-8414