Jeff Carlson

Partner, The Arena 

Business Owner, ReMax Preferred

What are you working on now?

The Arena started as a passion project that now feels like a calling. Sioux City had taken a back seat to other “like” communities regarding the sports scene, programming options, and facilities. It is our mission to provide the highest character and most talented staff to youth in our region. It was paramount to create a facility and environment that rivaled anything in the country. If you build it, they will come. But if you build it right, they will come back. Our owners are all Siouxland natives, including Mike Hesse, Dustin Cooper, and myself. We want to show the next generation that all dreams are possible, and they are possible right here. Our foundation, formerly known as We Got Next and recently renamed “The Arena Foundation” was a large piece of this overall vision. We use athletics as a vehicle to uplift kids. 

What is your vision for the future?

I’ve been blessed to be involved in several different companies locally, nationally and internationally including The Arena, ReMax Preferred, Blue Ox, EPIC Consulting, The Arena Foundation, Jackson & Partners, and Caicos Dream Tours. These experiences have given a unique perspective into other markets. I truly believe Sioux City is on the verge of an epic explosion. Due to that belief, my wife Rachel and I recently purchased ReMax Preferred, along with Amy Kakacek and Aaron Jones of ReMax Lakes Realty in Okoboji. We will add a “Market Experience” to The Arena that celebrates real estate and the beauty of our region from Siouxland to Okoboji. This vehicle will give investors an opportunity to work with a team that has significant experience in commercial and residential development. At The Arena and all of our companies, we emphasize a culture of positivity coupled with relentless work ethic. 

What would you like to see happen in Siouxland?

When searching for a place to call home it is vastly important for young families to check boxes. The Arena Sports Academy checks a box and is a valuable amenity to the community. Economic impact and an influx of capital is critical to continued growth. Players and spectators by the tens of thousands have already traveled to Sioux City and competed in The Arena. Restaurants are up 25-50 points every time we host an event of any kind, hotels are sold out during a time they would normally be experiencing low capacity, and retailers see surges in spending. This environment escalates increased investment and overall atmosphere in Siouxland. All the progressive projects that have occurred in recent years show young people a commitment to change in the City. I would like to see doors continue to open to encourage creative ideas and entrepreneurism. A commitment from the public and private sector to not only invest funds but lessen barriers to entry for the next generation. Specifically offering more platforms for youth and young families to thrive. 

What are you doing to make this happen?

The Arena Foundation (formerly We Got Next) was founded six years ago. We ran a free basketball camp that 85 kids attended. A few were scholarshipped from camp. Fast forward six year later. In the last year, 1500 Siouxland youth participated in our free programming. Our scholarships are subjective to each individual. We provide school supplies, athletic equipment, funds to participate in athletics, nutrition supplementation, and mentoring. Combating childhood hunger is a passion of ours. We recently partnered with The Miracle League and will take over operation of Miracle League Park for all able-bodied programming, while also being involved in the phenomenal programming they provide. We believe all kids deserve to have people surrounding them that have a vested interest in their life. We are taking a holistic approach to athletics in Siouxland and it is our mission to create an epicenter of youth athletics that rivals any other metro area. 

How can people help you make that happen?

Visit and inquire about The Arena Foundation. 100% of our net proceeds and funds raised go directly to youth in our community. That is unique. If you are a business owner or citizen that is inspired to uplift kids through character education, athletics, mentoring, and nutrition supplementation, there are a variety of ways for you to contribute to the cause. Funding is always welcome but volunteering at a number of our events or nominating youth you feel could benefit from involvement are other great ways to be a part of The Arena Foundation. 

What quote inspires you? 

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

Volunteer Organizations

The Arena Foundation

Sunnybrook Community Church

The Miracle League

Morningside College Alumni 

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