Michael Schraepfer - Age: 39, Business owner
What do you do professionally?
Property management, construction and development — Heirloom Companies.
How are you involved in the community? Do you volunteer with any organizations?
I enjoy volunteering on commissions. I’m in my seventh year as a planning commissioner, and before that I was on the parks commission for six years. Also, through our company we give back to homeowners in need through our philanthropic arm Neighbor Strong. We’ve done a few extreme home makeovers for homeowners in need, and raised money through events for the homeless shelters in Duluth.
What is important to you?
To me what’s valuable in life are relationships we get to build and the experiences we cultivate with those people. It’s easy to get busy with the day to day, but the best parts of life are always experiences spent with people we care about.
How do you spend your free time?
I spend most of my free time either traveling and visiting family or building things. I love design, and making my ideas. I have been called a bit of an alchemist. I typically always want to try something new and don’t often repeat old designs. I’m a bit of a tinkerer that way.
Favorite things about living and working in the Northland?
I love the seasons and water. The change of seasons brings new fun things, and they also are a reminder to keep growing and changing myself. I think Duluth is a really neat place. It is small enough to have a sense of community, but big enough to be a city. For its size, it has an interesting and significant history. Duluth also has a great natural attraction in Lake Superior that keeps the city thriving.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming professionals?
Use your young years to take chances, try things and most importantly chase opportunities to learn or work with folks who have been three to five times further down the path. Individual growth is worth so much more than a little more money. Chase personal growth.
Favorite moment in life?
I don’t really have one I can think of. My mind goes to a few things:
- Riding a camel through the Sahara and seeing a meteor shower in a truly black sky.
- The standing ovation as the keynote speaker at the National Association of Property Managers broker conference in San Antonio last year. That presentation was hard and the reward was satisfying.
What is your favorite motivational quote?
‘The task will take the time allotted.’ This quote is pretty unassuming, but I love it for so many reasons. Time is money and nothing is affordable, fast, or efficient enough if you don’t get into the details. Opportunity is always in the margins and it’s important to challenge assumptions.
From the nominators:
“Over the last several years I have had the privilege of being witness to the transformational power Mike has had in the lives of countless people. He goes above and beyond to lift up those around him, viewing their success as the only true measure of his own. His passion to make a difference in the community and the lives of those around him is genuinely inspirational. I am so proud to know him and cannot think of anyone more deserving of such an honor.”
― Kirsten Mason
“Congratulations on your selection, Mike! The 20 Under 40 award is not just a recognition of what you have already done in your business and civic life, but more importantly — what you yet will do.”
― Roger Reinert
“Congratulations, Mike! Thank you for all you do for our community! It’s always amazing to see the property transformations we’re able to accomplish here at Heirloom and the good it brings to the city of Duluth. Thank you for all your support over the last couple of years and the opportunities to learn and grow with you and the rest of the team.”
― Savannah Norman