Coming Full Circle: Hillsdale Athletes Brent and Lindsay Ogle and Blazer Manufacturing
Written by Monica Vanderweide
Twenty years after they entered Hillsdale as freshmen, 2002 alumni Brent and Lindsay Berlin Ogle of Columbus, Nebraska, find that they appreciate Hillsdale College even more with each passing year. As business owners, they recognize how their Hillsdale education and time as student-athletes laid the foundation for the entrepreneurial leap they took four years ago.
A Hillsdale County native, Brent came to Hillsdale on a football scholarship. “Playing football was rewarding because it was so intense,” Brent recalls. “It was almost like a part-time job. It kept me on task, and the long days of practice with a great group of men helped me develop character.”
Lindsay played on the soccer team for one year and then participated with the cheerleading team. “Playing a sport at Hillsdale helps you to learn how to prioritize your time,” Lindsay says. “It also instills a sense of pride in you as you represent Hillsdale on and off campus.”
The couple, who met during their freshman year, married shortly after graduation. Brent worked in sales and management in the Midwest for 12 years at Welch Packaging. He received this job in part due to the letter of recommendation that one of his scholarship donors, the late Robert Richardson, wrote on his behalf. “I had dinner with him when he was on campus to meet with his scholarship recipients, and just from that short interaction, he was willing to help me with my job search,” Brent recalls. Lindsay graduated from law school at Valparaiso University. “My Hillsdale classes really strengthened my writing skills for law school,” she says. She edited a law review and taught online legal research classes until the couple’s first child was born.
For several years, Brent had wanted to run his own business, unable to shake the entrepreneurial bug that had taken root in him at Hillsdale. In 2014, he quit his job and began to search for a suitable business match, a process that took a full year. In February 2015, he took ownership of Blazer Manufacturing, a producer of athletic and industrial equipment in Lindsay’s hometown of Columbus, Nebraska. While Brent had many criteria he looked for in a business, Blazer was just the right fit.
In the past three years, Brent and his business partner have expanded the company, pushing into the college market in addition to selling athletic equipment to middle and high schools. They also expanded their clientele on the industrial side of the business: Blazer manufactures items such as storage tanks and fuel containment systems.
Through the years, the Ogles have remained close to Hillsdale and helped in multiple ways: hosting an Admissions open house, speaking on campus at a Career Services entrepreneur panel, and supporting the College financially through The President’s Club. “We are ‘all in’ with Hillsdale,” Lindsay says. “We were both given so many opportunities because of Hillsdale, so it’s just a natural extension to give back to where our foundations were laid.”
This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 edition of Hillsdale: The Official Magazine of the Hillsdale College Alumni Association.