Jeff Appelquist is the founder and president of Blue Knight Leadership, LLC. Blue Knight has been in business since 2008. Jeff is a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer, practicing attorney, and corporate executive. He has more than twenty years experience both as an entrepreneur and small business owner, and as a leader in Fortune 100 companies. He is also an award-winning author and expert in American military history.

Jeff has called upon his many years of widely varied professional experiences to create a unique and powerful individual leadership and team development program. He is a nationally recognized consultant, speaker, and teacher whose expertise, energy, humor, and passion help organizations forge great leaders and teams.

Jeff first two books, Sacred Ground: Leadership Lessons From Gettysburg & the Little Big Horn (2010) and Wisdom Is Not Enough: Reflections on Leadership & Teams (2011), have won numerous literary awards between them, including multiple first-place prizes in the Writer's Digest International, National Indie Excellence, and Midwest Book Awards. Jeff has also written Legacy of Excellence: A Centennial History of the Toro Company.

A former college athlete, Jeff is an avid sportsman who hunts, fishes, sails, and scuba dives. He has climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. He has a bachelors degree in political science from Carleton College and a combined law degree and masters degree in public policy and administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


“The Gettysburg experience and its examination of the foundational basics of leadership was very relevant for the management team at Bluestem Brands. Jeff Appelquist captured the mood and the essence of the battlefield well, and using this emotional base, translated specific battlefield situations into leadership lessons that hit home for our team. Jeff adapted and tailored his approach, covered all the critical points, and created an unforgettable learning experience for Bluestem that will add value for years to come.”

Brian Smith
CEO Bluestem Brands, Inc.