Hometown: Billings, Montana
At just 24 years old, Swenson is one of the youngest 40 Under 40 award winners. He's already served a mission for his church and has started a successful business "Your Pie."
How have you been able to accomplish all of these things?
Until this semester I was able to take classes in the mornings and work later into the evenings. However, when we opened up Your Pie I was there 12 to 15 hours a day, seven days a week. So at this time I have put school on hold and am focusing solely on Your Pie.
How did you decide to open Your Pie?
My wife, Josie, and I were living down in Phoenix and we were regulars at several of the fast casual pizza restaurants that were similar to Your Pie. We loved the concept and thought that Billings would really benefit from having a place like that. We started to look at some of the franchises doing the same thing and came across Your Pie. We met with them and loved the founder, CEO and the team that they had built at the franchise office. We also believed their product to be superior to any of the other franchises that we had looked into.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
There are several things that immediately come to mind when I think about this. First, I love being in a position where we are able to give back to the community. We partnered with the Explorer’s Academy for our Dine and Donate event and ended up raising nearly $5,000 for them. Second, I love seeing families come in to our restaurant and be able to spend quality time enjoying their meals together. Lastly, it is so satisfying when we see a customer come in for lunch and enjoy their meal so much that they bring their family back in for dinner.
How do you find any work-life balance?
When we first opened it was nearly impossible to find any balance; we were there all day, every day of the week. Now we are getting to a point where I am starting to get some time off and my wife and I have decided that we are going to make the most of it. We have enjoyed some snow skiing and a couple of weekend getaways recently.
What role did serving your church for two years have in what you do now?
I firmly believe that my two-year church mission played a major role in where I am today. I was away from friends and family the whole two years and really learned a lot about myself, including what my strengths and weaknesses are. I was put into leadership roles early on in my mission and learned a lot of valuable lessons that have helped me manage our employees and run a business. I learned to think for myself and take responsibility for my actions. I feel like I learned a lifetime of skills on those two years that I was in Samoa.
What other community organizations are important to you?
An important organization to me is my church. Not only is it a religious practice but it is an organization that cares deeply and does a lot of good for the community. Head Start is also an organization that I think is extremely important and that I respect immensely. They do so much in helping our local kids get a better education and helping their families to improve their overall quality of life.
What is your vision for your life in the next 10 years?
In the next 10 years, I see Your Pie growing in Billings and in the state of Montana. I would like to follow my dad’s lead and get involved in some real estate, for example, rentals, commercial properties and land. I want to continue to travel with my wife and experience new things with her. In the next couple of years I would imagine that we will start making some additions to the family and having several children.
Why is Billings important to you?
I have lived in Billings since I was 6 years old so I do not remember very many things about my life before Billings. My parents made a strong effort to get me involved from a young age. I was a sports fanatic growing up and got to play alongside some amazing people who pushed me and helped me become a better athlete and a better person. I have met so many amazing friends, coaches and mentors who have guided me and helped me become a better person. Billings has given my family and me so much opportunity and I am trying to make the most out of it and at the same time trying to make Billings an even better place than it already is.
What is one of your guilty pleasures?
I would have to say eating a big bowl of cereal and watching Netflix.
What is your favorite book?
"Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill.