WEARING DIFFERENT HATS - AND FINDING THE HAT THAT FITS
Apr 06, 2023
My road to UFC was a little different from some. But like many, I grew up in agriculture and was no stranger to hard work along the way.
My family lived on a farm south of New Ulm. By the time I was nine, I stumbled into a job sweeping floors and cleaning at a local service station. I continued that all the way through high school. After graduation, I went on to college in Mankato for a degree in auto mechanics.
Following school, I was offered a chance to buy into a service station, which also sold bulk fuel and seed corn to agriculture accounts in Brown County. When my partner retired, I took over the business and wore many different hats as an independent sole proprietor.
In 2002, I had the opportunity to sell that bulk fuel business to UFC and was asked to lead our energy department. My experience had been on the private side, but as VP of Energy, I now put all that experience to work with the full support of the cooperative model.
I still get to enjoy working with ag based customers, but the cooperative system has supplied me with the other hats we all need to run our business: a CFO, GM, HR department and more. With this kind of support in place, I can take care of employees for the long term – some who have been with me since the beginning.
Speaking of wearing different hats, I think prospective employees will always have a path to do many different things and grow within the cooperative structure. If you’re willing to put in the effort, there will always be an opportunity.
And that opportunity may not necessarily be in energy. At UFC, our divisions don’t work in silos. While we may have a need at a particular position, we try not to pigeonhole people. If a person is better suited to the agronomy, grain or seed side of the business, our leaders work together to find the best fit. We try to keep an open eye for that and “Let ‘em go and let ‘em grow”.
It’s also about putting people in the right roles to be successful. We want happy employees that are safe, fulfilled and motivated to take care of our customers. Matching a person’s skills to the right spot helps them prosper and enjoy their work.
When we can achieve that, it helps everyone we employ and serve. Our customers are our owners and always have a direct line to our people. With the culture that UFC has established, we’re all here to help each other - and that’s a very good position to be in moving forward.
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With our extended weather forecast showing below normal temperatures across much of UFC’s territory we know growers may not be waiting for “ideal” planting conditions. We suggest utilizing 6-24-6 starter fertilizer to help corn and soybeans deal with cooler planting temperatures.