October 30, 2015 | 4 p.m.
By Rachel Wilson '15
With just over 100 students, the math department isn’t the biggest on campus. But what it lacks in head count, it makes up for in reputation. Twenty-five years ago, the math department at Bethel was already producing high-caliber students.
Mark Brecheisen ’89 came to Bethel with intentions of studying engineering, but during junior year switched his major to math. He has since held various positions in business, most often related to customer relationship management (CRM) tools. On a basic level, a CRM builds and maintains positive customer relationships and thus grows sales through the use of technology.
Brecheisen has also dabbled in both the information technology and the consulting sides of the industry. “I’m a real analytical thinker, and I enjoy using technology to solve business problems,” Brecheisen says. Today, Brecheisen is the president and chief operating officer of Modacto, a certified Salesforce Silver Consulting Partner located in Minneapolis. In recent years, the CRM field has expanded greatly, though its core remains constant: sales, user-friendly customer service, and marketing. According to Brecheisen, it has become a platform on which businesses—especially mid-sized ones—can operate almost entirely.
Brecheisen founded Modacto just over three years ago with business partner and friend, Chris Shaw. They soon hired a single employee. Today, they employ 18 in an office nestled in the North Loop in Minneapolis.
For Brecheisen, an entrepreneurial lifestyle is a good match for his skill set. “I enjoy being able to create something of value for the marketplace,” he says. “And shaping offerings that can help businesses succeed—that whole creative aspect of building something from the ground up.”
Nonetheless, entrepreneurship has its challenges. For Brecheisen, one of those challenges is continuing to create a positive and stimulating work culture where his employees thrive. “We want them to like coming to work,” Brecheisen says. “We also realize we’re responsible for the livelihood of 18 people and their families. That’s a responsibility that we take very seriously.”
Because Modacto is still in its younger years, establishing a reputation is important to Brecheisen and Shaw. Through their work, the business partners seek to challenge the status quo of the industry. Customers come to Modacto looking for insights, and Brecheisen sees it as Modacto’s job to show them how they can reach customers in a better, more efficient way. “It’s like we hold up a mirror toward their organization or company,” Brecheisen says. “Sometimes that involves getting out of the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mentality.”
Brecheisen credits his Bethel education with helping prepare him for his life as a businessman and entrepreneur. He values the liberal arts education Bethel provided—shaping “renaissance” men and women, as he refers to them, who are able to blend many diverse skills together. “My Bethel education taught me how to think in a broad way. It taught me to solve problems and do so creatively when there isn’t one distinct answer,” Brecheisen says.
Brecheisen lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, with his wife, Denise ’89, and their three children: Justin, 19; Alison, 17; and Alex, 14.