In 2010, Jon Pierre Francia (’94) felt stuck. The children’s television show he had been producing, Jake’s Airplanes, had lost funding during the economic downturn of 2008 and Francia was unsure about his next career move. During this period of uncertainty, Francia attended a fortuitous family picnic that would change his career path for good.
Francia recalls, “I was at a family picnic and my nephew said, ‘Hey, you should come to North Dakota. We’re eating out of gas stations and driving oil trucks—come start a taco truck. You make great food!’ And I said, ‘That’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard.’”
But two years later, Francia found himself sitting in a bright red 36-foot trailer in the middle of winter in Alexander, North Dakota, hoping the burritos he had concocted would sell.
“The first day there, I knew I had made the worst mistake of my life,” Francia explains. “It was brutal cold and I was feeling like I was on the dark side of the moon. It was really tough, but I couldn’t allow myself to fail.”