Meet Tom Senn, president of Senn’s Custom Vans (www.sennscustomvans.com).
Tell us a little about your business. – I custom build adventure vans, but I like to say I build dreams! A lot of my clientele are retired people looking to travel comfortably, but there is something for everyone. I take conversion vans and convert them to tiny homes. I take pride in the fact that people can come to me with their big ideas and I make them happen.
How did you get started in the business? – I built a van for myself first. I had a Toyota Tacoma with a rooftop tent, but I couldn’t travel with my pet because there was no AC to keep them safe if I left. I got a wild hair and ran across the van business on Youtube, built one for myself and caught the bug. I still own a small management janitorial business that I’ve been in it for 40+ years. I’ve slowly been getting away from that with my new business.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – I think figuring out the market for adventure vans in Omaha. It can be difficult to find the right person looking for road travel in this area that is also looking for a live-in van instead of something for more short-term trips.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – Making people happy! All of my customers stay in touch with me. They send me photos of their adventures and continue to stay connected. I think this is a unique part of my business that I don’t take for granted.
Tell us a little about your family. – I have two grown children, Ashley and Jordan who live in the Omaha area. I also have a little five pound pom-poodle named Lily. My coworker Ed brings his pup Sienna to the shop every day, they’re family too.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – Starting this business, especially after being in a different industry for so long.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I’m a homebody, I love to grill and hang out on the patio with company and friends, just chilling outdoors.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I’m pretty good at bowling!
Who inspires you? – There is a custom van builder, Leland Gilmore, who owns a company called Benchmark Vehicles out of Portland. His designs are awesome and he’s inspired me to be better and better with each build I do.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be? – Giving.
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be? – Finance – I always wanted to be a money manager. I love the stock market and everything that goes into it.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read? – Make Something Wonderful: Steven Jobs in His Own Words.
What is your favorite movie? – The Bourne Series.
What is your favorite local restaurant? – Brother Sebastian’s.
If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be? – Steve Jobs.