Our Values

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One of my favorite sayings is ‘hustle and heart will set you apart.’ So often we categorize people by whether they are driven or whether they are caring. At Pioneer, we are both. Our drive and our sense of caring for our people and our clients truly do set us apart. It’s one of the many reasons why I’m proud to be part of this team; because it’s who I am too.
— Jon Koss, HR Director, Pioneer

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We are humble.

Adjective | hum • ble |: freedom from pride or arrogance

Brian Westerhaus | Partner

“Throughout my career I’ve been most satisfied at work when serving my clients behind the scenes, delivering great value to help good people become their best selves at work.

This ethos helped fuel rapid growth in the early days of Pioneer. The growth was fun, the work was engaging, and it was messy (growth almost always is). “Nobody Cares, Work Harder” became, and still is, one of my favorite sayings.


To my surprise, “Work Harder” also became a mental trap. No matter how much we were growing, I thought any challenge could be overcome by working harder. And it worked, until it didn’t. Critical failures served up a dose of humility.

I’m grateful for those tough lessons. They helped propel the Pioneer team to where we are today, a diverse and complementary leadership team combined with an incredible group of consultants.

With humility in our hearts, we serve our clients and develop our team for the long term.”

- Brian


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We have a hunger to learn and grow.

Adjective | hun • gry |: strongly motivated (as by ambition)

Lane Elmer | Partner

“I enjoy seeking new opportunities to learn and grow. In fact, I first joined the Pioneer team with a varied background of residential construction, wind energy, venture capital, and corporate finance. The team embraced my diverse experience and taught me how to channel my talents into problem solving, communication and business leadership. It was the smartest group of people I had ever worked with.

When a rare opportunity to become the CEO of a struggling health care business presented itself, I couldn’t imagine leaving Pioneer. To my delight the management team said I should “go out and crush it!” So I embarked on my CEO journey, turning around a nearly bankrupt company and tripling its value with an exit to private equity within 24 months.


I returned to Pioneer after my CEO post, and my hunger to learn and grow is fed every day. Our team works on some of the most complex challenges facing our clients, and the ability to deliver exceptional results while enjoying the camaraderie of our team is a remarkable gift.”

- Lane


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We are connected.

Adjective | con • nect • ed |: joined or linked together

Simba Musasa | Senior Consultant

“A quick search on Google Maps will reveal that 9,800 miles of land and sea separate Pioneer’s Minneapolis office and the city of Harare, Zimbabwe. The two are disparate locations on an expansive global panorama. No direct flights. No direct rail lines. No direct road network connecting the two.

Yet, to me, these two locations could not be more connected. Harare was home for the first 16 years of my life, and Pioneer has been another kind of home. In-between: a series of life experiences that shrunk the 9,800 miles, one opportunity at a time.

First, came two years spent at an international boarding school in the mountains of Montezuma, New Mexico. Then a four-year Economics degree program, concluding with a one-year internship at a leading electric utility in Minnesota. By then, a passion for internationalism, politics and business was fully brewing, but needed a platform to develop practical skills that would make me a more effective global citizen.

I found the platform at Pioneer, where management consulting is expanding my opportunities in an environment that embraces and celebrates a diversity of culture and thought.”

- Simba