Business Manager, Geneva Office
We didn’t know what to make of Jennifer Asche when she arrived at Fortify Group.
She joined the team in the spring as a temporary employee and set herself up in a back office, surrounded by stacks of crop insurance files.She painstakingly entered all the acreage reports for crop insurance.
Crop insurance is a crucial and noble profession, but it’s also dry and complex, ranking fairly low on the excitement scale.
Jennifer did the work quickly and quietly, with no outward sign of the task save for a little squinting.
From the tidbits of conversation that drifted from the office, we began to realize that she understood and made sense of all the numbers - even suggesting more efficient ways to enter them.
One day, she admitted she loved crop insurance - in all its black-and-white, exacting glory.
Had we discovered an insurance unicorn?
No, it turns out, just a farm girl with a business degree.
But we still think she fills a special niche at Fortify Group and Jennifer joined us fulltime in the summer of 2017. Meet Jennifer:
Jennifer grew up on a farm near Cedar Rapids, a town of about 400 people in north central Nebraska. It was a typical family farm, raising row crop, a cow/calf herd, and many, many pigs. Her dad farmed. Her mom worked as a grain accountant at a local co-op. She and her two sisters helped around the farm, joined FFA and graduated from Cedar Rapids High School.
What wasn’t typical, though?
Her ‘family farm’ meant four generations, in three houses, on one farmstead. Her great-grandparents were just a skip down the sidewalk. Grandpa and grandma could be found along the same walking path.
“That’s just how I grew up. It was like living in a three-house town. I never went to daycare. Grandma and great-grandma took care of me. That’s why I know how to cook and clean,” she jokes.
Jennifer knew early on that she wanted a career in business. She liked every business course she took and every aspect from human resources to finance. After high school, she attended Central Community College in Grand Island and then Bellevue University, earning a degree in Business Management.
Family came first, though. When she finished her degree, she was married to husband, Matt, (from the neighboring town of Spalding), and oldest daughter, Kenna, was on the way.
Over the next 16 years, she and Matt added sons, Connor and Carson, and daughter Kamry, to their family. Jennifer ran an-in home daycare in each town they moved to for Matt’s career as a teacher and principal, including Deweese, Lawrence, St. Paul, Bancroft, Dorchester, Cedar Rapids and finally, Bridgeport.
She also became a successful Thirty-One consultant, thriving in the direct sales business that introduced her to hundreds of people in just three years time. “Many were people who crossed my path for a reason. The experience really changed me and made me a better person,” she said.
In 2016, Matt became principal at Geneva’s Youth Rehabilitation Treatment Center and the Asches moved one more time.
Fortify Group Realtor Karla Jacobson was the first person they met in Fillmore County. She helped them navigate the local housing market, and the connection led to the original temp job at Fortify’s Geneva office.
Jennifer is now the business manager at the Geneva office, and feels at home in her new world of spreadsheets, statements, policies and premiums.
With four new Panthers in the Fillmore Central hallways, she and Matt spend much of their free time at cross country meets, football games, basketball match-ups and baseball leagues.
At their home west of Geneva, Jennifer’s farm roots show. The family’s large garden produced pumpkins, sweet corn, potatoes and many other vegetables.
She is happy to jump in a combine or tractor whenever her dad needs a hand. (“He never got a boy. He got me,” she quips.)
At her home, mixed in among every basket, hamper and tote Thirty-One offers, are two prized possessions: her grandmother’s tin measuring cup and wooden spoon, which have made many meals for the family.
At work, she is busy studying now, on her way to earning an insurance agent license in property and casualty.
“I’m anxious to get my license and start helping clients find the right coverage...
I love meeting customers. To me, everyone is new here, so it’s fun to meet a client and then see them in the community.”
Community service: In the numerous Nebraska towns she has called home, Jennifer has volunteered with Altar Society, CCD, FFA Alumni, a library board and “too many kids’ activities to list.” In Geneva she is active in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Fillmore Central Athletic Boosters, and FC FFA Alumni.
Family: Husband, Matt; children Kenna, Connor, Carson and Kamry.
Hobbies: “What’s that? My kids are my life right now.” She vaguely remembers having time to paint and make crafts. Whenever she does find free time, she bakes something.
Little Known Facts: Little Known Fact: Jennifer is famous in some circles for her big red cake. (It has been compared to red velvet, “only way better,” she says.) The recipe for the scarlet-and-cream masterpiece is a carefully guarded family secret, but she does disclose that the frosting is cooked like gravy. The cake has been spotted in elementary classrooms and cross-country student suppers.