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Corey was born in New Prague, Minnesota in the early 1950s. During his formative years he spent the majority of his time outdoors, taking farm jobs and riding his friends’ horses. At the age of 10 he entered a sheep into the Scott County Fair and won first prize in the farm animal category. As a second generation American, of Latvian ancestry, Corey was brought up to believe in the merits of hard work and earned his degree in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin in 1974. After college Corey transitioned into business and worked his way up from floor supervisor to CEO of the Thin-co Rubber Band Factory in Elko , MN. Within three years of working at Thin-co, the company’s profit margins were up by 30% and Corey started to turn his sights toward potential investments. In 1980 he invested in ailing paperclip and stationary company, Grogun and helped to turn their fortunes, leading to a prosperous period in the mid-80s. This successful investment choice paved the way for Corey’s career as a venture capitalist.
Of the two career paths Corey would say that he enjoyed working at the factory the most, being involved in the manufacture of helpful bindings to hold things together inspired him to think differently about the ties which unite people and their communities. It is this interest, coupled with his belief in hard work which guides the course of his campaign and policies , to this very day. In 1986 Corey discovered another passion, Contemporary Art, this discovery came about when an artist who looked suspiciously like Prince made him a sculpture out of rubber bands and paperclips at a cocktail party. Ever since this night Corey has kept the artist’s gift on his desk and as a result of this impromptu piece and the resulting friendship between himself and the artist, Corey continues to make personal donations to arts organizations on a regular basis.