Entrepreneur to returning professor

Naomi Mellema – Staff Writer 

Rebecca Rens is a new face in Dordt University’s business department this year. Having owned and managed her own business for 30 years, Rens contributes personal experience to her new role as an Assistant Professor of Business. She believes that through her experiences, God has taught her to let go of control and surrender to His plan. 

“You have to be willing to change,” Rens said. “You have to be willing to shift gears. God might want you in a different place tomorrow than He has you today.” 

Various factors played into Rens’ decision to start as an assistant professor at Dordt. A couple years before, Rens returned to school to get her Master’s degree. Though not completely sure why at the time, Rens felt that God was calling her to continue her education.

Another factor leading Rens back to Dordt was her passion for private higher education. Being a Dordt alumna herself and having sent all three of her daughters to private higher education, Rens saw its value, and returned to school once again. In February of 2022, she completed her Doctorate in Business Administration and began teaching at Dordt months later in August. 

Rens’s personal business experiences were also big contributors to her current role at Dordt. Rens’s first job after college was in Dordt’s Advancement Office. This job provided her an opportunity to grow and practice management skills as she managed students that worked in the call center. After the Dordt Advancement Office, Rens moved on to a sales and marketing job for Link Manufacturing in Sioux Center. After a couple years at Link, she left to open a business with her husband in 1991 called Rens Concrete Incorporated. They started the business with almost nothing as they were young, first-generation business owners. 

“We really just had a little bit of a dream, but not even a big vision for where we were going to end up,” Rens said. “We were completely blessed and surprised by what it became in 30 years.” 

The experience taught them what it meant to start and own a business. From financing to human resources to supply chains, Rens learned that small business owners are exposed to every part of business. The business grew from residential projects to commercial, then industrial, and eventually they began doing projects for the Department of Transportation.

Beyond exposing her to the elements of business, Rens’s personal life was also impacted through starting and managing a business. Having three young daughters, Rens had to find a balance in her work life and personal life. While she had a lot on her plate, Rens was thankful for her work, which gave her flexibility. 

“I felt like I was spread pretty thin, but having a business also gives you that flexibility,” Rens said. “I could plan my own days. I had to get everything done, but I could do it in the middle of the night if I had to.” 

In 2020, Rens and her husband felt it was time to close their concrete business. Though their decision may not have made sense to others, they believed that God was calling them in a different direction. 

“What I’ve learned over the years is that any control I thought I had was an illusion,” Rens said. “It’s more about surrendering.” 

After taking steps to close their concrete business, Rens began pursuing the idea of furthering her business education, and eventually teaching business. Now at Dordt, Rens hopes that her students see that business is a noble calling. 

“Sometimes it’s a challenged call and there are people who wouldn’t consider it the most ethical calling,” Rens said. “But what I hope for my students is that they’re inspired to develop excellent skills and right motivations, and that they will use that all to impact the business world for the glory of God.” 

Caleb Beard, a freshman in Rens’s Principles of Management class, is thankful that Rens makes class applicable and hands-on. 

“She keeps us interested through real stories and examples from the business that she owned,” Beard said. “I also enjoy the simulation project that we’re doing in class. It makes me excited for my future in business management.” 

Contributed photo

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