John Pederson is the Founder of the 612 Sauna Society Cooperative, a Member-owned 308B Sauna Co-op (the nation’s first) serving the Twin Cities Metro area. John discovered Sauna and Sauna Society as an exchange student in Helsinki in 2004. He started his first sauna build—a mobile Sauna-tiny-house called The Firehouse—under the guidance of SauanTimes Founder Glenn Auerbach in December of 2013 and opened the doors to family and friends the following winter. He embraced his role as the neighborhood “sauna guy,” hosting over 1100 guests for small back yard gatherings before becoming the official “Sauna Meister” of the Little Box mobile sauna in 2015. John Founded the 612 Sauna Society Cooperative in 2017, where he currently serves as the Chief Firewood Officer and sits on the Board of Directors.
John graduated from the UW-Madison School of Journalism with Honors in 2005 after internships with NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” and “To the Best of Our Knowledge” programs. In 2006, he moved to Indonesia to start the country’s first student-run radio station as a Fulbright Scholar in Sumatra. He moved back to his home state of Minnesota in 2008 and served as the first Communications Strategist for Seed Savers Exchange from 2010 – 2012 before joining the Mighty Mo Design Co. as the Director of Operations in 2013.
He joined the Musicant Group in 2016 where he he oversaw placemaking and Community Management projects around the city. He formed the 612 Sauna Society Co-op Steering Committee later that year. The Committee launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that fall and opened the doors to the nation’s first community-owned mobile sauna, The Forge, on January 1, 2017.
John founded Sauna Society Builders in July of 2017 with Rodney Buhrsmith to bring the wellness benefits of steam bathing traditions to life in urban America.