Jeff Appelquist

Entrepreneur, Attorney, Explorer & Author

The Explorers Club

Executive Profile

Jeff Appelquist has had a four-decade career in the military, law, business, and entrepreneurship. He is the founder and president of Blue Knight Leadership, LLC (2008), which provides experiential leadership training at historic venues, including the Gettysburg and Little Bighorn battlefields, the Lewis and Clark trail in Montana, and the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Jeff graduated from Carleton College, Northfield MN, with a BA in political science. At Carleton, he was a starting wide receiver on the varsity football team and a four-year All-Conference sprinter and team captain in track and field.

Jeff served as a U.S. Marine infantry officer for three years. He was a rifle platoon leader, company executive officer, and rifle company commander, serving on both coasts of the United States and in the Far East.

Jeff earned combined Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration and Juris Doctor Degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a former practicing attorney who specialized in business litigation. He maintains his Minnesota law license, and is a member of the American and Minnesota State Bar Associations. Jeff worked for 16 years in various corporate and field leadership positions with Target Corporation and the Best Buy Company.

Jeff is a member of the prestigious and historic Explorers Club, whose mission is scientific discovery, resource conservation and the advancement of human knowledge. Among many other adventures, he has climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.

Jeff is the author of six award-winning books, including Sacred Ground: Leadership Lessons from Gettysburg & the Little Bighorn; Changing Places: Travels in a Vanishing World; and Earthrise: Leadership Lessons from the Apollo Space Missions.







Jeff Appelquist as a Marine infantry officer, Pohang South Korea, 1983

Jeff Appelquist (bottom right) and friends at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa’s tallest mountain, in January 2017


“Jeff Appelquist has consulted with the Business Development and other teams at Fresenius Kidney Care for 12 years. During that time Jeff has done excellent work both with our senior leadership team and our high potential vice presidents and directors. Jeff has helped us achieve a coordinated common purpose, better communication, stronger relationships and, as a result, improved business outcomes. He has been a key factor in our excellent retention numbers over the years. Jeff has also helped me personally and professionally in my own leadership journey. We greatly value Jeff’s wise counsel.”

Tom Weider
Senior Vice President, Sales & Account Management
Fresenius Kidney Care