FEATURED EMPLOYEE: Daren Ellefson – Project Engineer, Musician, Mr. Congeniality
Always one to march to the beat of his own drummer, Daren Ellefson defies most conventional engineer stereotypes. Introverted? Absolutely not; he is one of the more recognizable faces at V3 Companies thanks to his various hobbies and congenial nature.
Reserved? Think again; Daren lives much of his personal life as a musician up on stage. His love for music, and talent for taking on new challenges, can be traced back to elementary school.
“My mom and brother played piano, so in 4th grade I picked it up, too,” he admitted. “In 5th grade I started playing trombone in the school band. In 10th grade I switched to the tuba, continued playing piano, and taught myself guitar.”
Daren’s interest in music only amplified over the years. As a college student at the University of Wisconsin he played the sousaphone in the marching band. Balancing a demanding engineering course load with a rigorous practice schedule wasn’t always easy. But for this music-loving sports enthusiast, marching band was a highly rewarding extracurricular activity. Access to sporting events and a front-row seat to the action was a great perk.
In 2005 Daren graduated from UW and narrowed his musical endeavors to the guitar and piano. At the same time his career ambitions were coming into focus, too. He landed an interview with V3 Companies and quickly accepted a Design Engineer I position.
Over the past 12 years Daren has worked his way up the ranks and forged friendships with countless coworkers. Thinking back, he was surprised when he realized just how big a role his career has played in enriching his personal life.
“I never really thought about it, but I can trace several hobbies back to people I’ve met at V3,” said Daren. “For example, I would regularly talk about music with one of my buddies at work. One day he approached me to say that his twin brother was looking for a guitarist for his 90’s alternative rock cover band. It turned out to be a great fit. The band is called The Step Brothers … we’re just a bunch of engineers that love to play loud rock music.”
Daren also plays bass in an Americana/folk band called Magnetic West. The group is in the studio currently working on an album of original songs. Beyond music, there’s one more hobby with V3 roots: homemade goods.
“It all started when I was joking with a coworker about how great beef jerky is. We both ended up buying dehydrators and the rest is history! Beer brewing is another endeavor I took on 8 years ago thanks to a totally different V3 coworker. We were both big craft brew fans, so we decided to get the equipment and share recipes as we got started.”
Spend a few minutes with Daren and you’ll quickly realize why stereotypes are so silly … people are too dynamic and interesting to ever be fully contained by any one label.