Current employer/job title: Northern Ag Suppliers, Specialty Products Territory Manager
In my current position, I am launching and building a new specialty fertilizer products division. I carry Spraytec Fertilizers, which is a line of innovative foliar fertilizer products that use four unique technologies that are new to this market. Because these products are different, I have been working this year through NAS' existing sales channels to sell them and set up field trials so customers can witness firsthand the value the products can bring to their businesses and customers.
I enjoy many aspects of my job, including my daily interactions with farmers and ag retailers, the challenge of the job’s many moving parts and ways to be successful, and the diversity of crops I get to work with (corn, soybeans, alfalfa, pasture, sugar beets, edible beans, etc.). It is a constant learning curve!
During my time at Iowa State, I was heavily involved with the Ag Entrepreneurship Initiative. I had many opportunities to work on projects for the university and private sector companies where we explored different markets or developed plans to launch a new business unit.
When I started my job hunt, I decided to limit my career opportunities to positions that resembled this type of work instead of entering into a training program. Mike Gaul in CALS Career Services played a major part in my finding a position like this, giving me contacts at the right companies and organizations. He also encouraged me to apply for several jobs that he knew were the style I was looking for, even though the job description didn't necessarily show it.
The Ag Business major prepared me for this position by giving me practical experiences both in and out of the classroom to be a forward thinker, and to handle people and business strategy. The department faculty and staff are great at identifying what is going to make each student successful. In my situation, they pushed and challenged me to try new things and step out of my comfort zone. Without this, I don’t think I would be experiencing the success I am having in my current role after just one year in the work force.
My advice to students: If a job offer doesn't feel right, it’s okay to turn it down, even if you don’t have another offer. When looking for a position like this, you have to stick to your gut and not settle for a position just because you feel stressed or your peers are receiving and taking offers.