Carol Nelson has been a noteworthy leader in the Owatonna Community for over 50 years. You may think of Carol when you think of Hydro-Ax (now Caterpillar), Eagle Fitness (now Cybex) or as an innovator. Carol has also been credited with contributions to several boards over the years, including the Owatonna Foundation and Cybex. He has been a trustee on the Owatonna Foundation for the past 35 years, which makes him the longest standing trustee on the board. Carol has been honored as one of the Owatonna Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Inductees in 2021 for his contributions to investments in the Owatonna business community.
Carol grew up in Iowa. He married his wife Elsie (Clark) Nelson in 1949. Together they have four children, Larry (and Sharon) Nelson of Wake Forest, NC; Brent Nelson of Myrtle Beach, SC; and twin girls, Valerie (and Lonny) Larson of Owatonna and Victoria (and Clayton) Anderson of Owatonna. Carol and Elsie have 10 grandchildren and currently 17 great-grandchildren. Carol and Elsie settled in Owatonna 1963. Before venturing to Owatonna, Carol worked for Wright Tree Service from 1949-1963. He eventually became a supervisor and was in charge of operations in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana and Idaho. While working for Wright Tree Service, Merle Dalland and Carol became fast friends and decided to start their own business. Together they started National Tree Expert Company and moved their families to Owatonna in 1963. Together Carol, Merle and their several crews contracted with utility companies in several States to clear trees from existing power lines, as well as, clearing new right-of-way paths. Carol eventually sold his interests of National Tree Expert to Dalland and bought Merle’s share of National Hydro-Ax in 1972. Hydro-Ax was sold to Omark Industries in 1980, who later sold to Blount and eventually acquired by Caterpillar.
In 1981, Carol was approached by a couple of young gentleman, Roy and Mark Simonson to assist in financing a fitness equipment manufacturing business, Eagle Performance Systems. Carol purchased controlling interest in the company in 1982. Eagle was later sold to Cybex in 1984. In 1984, Carol started a new company, Security Archives LLC, which had centers in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver and St. Paul. Security Archives stored secure documents for businesses. Security Archives LLC was sold to Iron Mountain in 1997. Carol is not done inventing and continues to have innovating ideas. At his young age of 90, he is working on launching his new company Motion Restore LLC, which manufactures a device for rehabbing knees, shoulders and elbows. When he is not creating, he enjoys spending time with family and friends.