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True Northern Journeys: Jason Duff, president and CEO of Community Storage & Properties Ltd.


Jason DuffJason Duff, BSBA '05, got his entrepreneurial start early in life. Since elementary school, business has been his way of life, and he would never want that to change.

"I was 8 years old and selling bulk candy bars out of my backpack at school and to businesses in my town," Duff explains. "I made the connection that, if I delivered something valuable for the right price to the right customer, they were happy, I was happy and I made money too! My entrepreneurial mindset was formed, and from that moment on, I've never stopped pursuing my dreams!"

Eventually, Duff moved on to his second money-making project: a vending enterprise. His success led to even greater ambitions and, at the age of 17, Duff created his first official company: Community Storage & Properties. He built this company around innovative and creative real estate development and designed it to serve his community.

Duff says, "My roots grow deep in the small-town-USA experience. I wanted to spend my energies investing and developing businesses that would help a small town's needs and quality of life."

At the age of 18, Duff earned the title of "Ohio's Youngest Realtor" and was able to invest in property and learn more in his trade. This experience allowed him to expand Community Storage to include another business venture: outdoor advertising. After the success of his first billboard structure, Duff created COMSTOR Outdoor Ltd., which now has more than 300 billboards in Ohio and Indiana. His efforts recently earned Duff the title of "Serial Entrepreneur."

Duff has been recognized for his work as a real estate developer and for his revitalization efforts. He was the recipient of the prestigious 2005 Global Student Entrepreneurship Social Impact Award. He also received the "20 Under 40 Business Award" from The Business Journal of West Central Ohio and has appeared as keynote speaker at various local, state and national organizations. He was featured in the November 2008 and January 2009 issues of the entrepreneurship magazine Inc. and on Inc.'s annual list of the 500 fastest-growing private American companies, the Inc. 500.

At Northern, Duff serves on The James F. Dicke College of Business Administration Advisory Board and the ONU Alumni Board. He also was named the recipient of the 2008 William L. Robinson Young Alumni Award, an award given each year to an individual who is committed to Ohio Northern University, his profession and the community.

Jason will be a presenter at the Extreme Entrepreneurship tour on April 3.

Carlie Ellis
Senior, professional writing