Nelson C. Jacobson is a third-generation leader of the privately held JSJ Corporation, serving as Chairman, CEO and President of the Michigan-based firm founded by his grandfather and two partners in 1919. He led JSJ’s expansion in Asia, the creation of its branded furniture business izzy+, and strengthened the process for JSJ-owned companies to be entrepreneurial and innovative.
“At JSJ, we are constantly reinventing ourselves, but staying true to our core culture and values,” says Jacobson, adding that he regards his responsibility as one of “stewarding the legacy of the families” that have owned the company since its earliest days — the Jacobsons, the Johnsons and the Sherwoods.
JSJ owns Dake Corporation, GHSP, Hudson Technologies, izzy+, mcloone and Sparks Belting, and operates facilities in a dozen states in the U.S., as well as China, Japan and Mexico. JSJ companies are built on a set of common values and principles, and a shared one-page strategic planning approach called the Rockefeller Habits that seeks to leverage the unique and diverse talents of people.
Jacobson joined the family business in 1986, after beginning his career at The Dow Chemical Company and McKinsey & Company. He earned an MBA degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, along with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.
Jacobson is a board member of Light Corporation, Flexfab, Inc., Grand Haven Community Foundation, Grand Valley University Foundation and the Mercy Health Regional Board. He’s also a member of the World President’s Organization and the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers’ Association (BIFMA). May 2015, Jacobson was inducted into the Junior Achievement West Michigan Business Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Lana, live in Grand Haven, Michigan, and are the parents of three sons. Away from his duties at JSJ, Jacobson enjoys supporting community and educational endeavors, and a wide range of outdoor activities.