Congratulations to SelectCare Excellence Winner Don

posted on Friday, September 3, 2021

Don stand in front of an Iowa Select sign

Dedicated. Compassionate. Approachable. Authentic. These are words used to describe Don, this quarter’s SelectCare Excellence award winner. Don is a sow supervisor for Iowa Select Farms, and also an employee with a lot of longevity, experience, and most importantly care.

“Don is the real deal because he is who he is , all of the time,” said Julie, a multiplication logistics and data analyst specialist. “He is so supportive and truly listens to his people. He’s a great mentor and empowers people to grow. Don truly deserves the recognition of this award for everything he does at work and within the community.”

“I love being able to work with and help people,” said Don, sow farm supervisor for the southern Iowa region. “It’s inspiring to see individuals grow and take on more responsibility. I love being that support system for them along the way.”

“Getting this award means that I work with the best people in the world,” said Don. “There are so many deserving people who work for this company, and I feel honored to have been selected.”
Don is currently a sow supervisor, overseeing Sow 118, Jernquist, Ringgold, Thayer, Popcorn, Last Chance, Derby and Smyrna sow farms. Moving into this position in 2009, Don has supervised 23 different sow farms, which is over half of the company’s footprint.

Starting in 1998 as the manager of Greenfield sow farm, Don was there until 2009 when he transitioned into a sow farm supervisor role, and he has continued to be in that role. Additionally, he supervised several gilt developer units from 2009 to 2015.

“Don has a heart of gold and is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet,” said T’Lee, a staff veterinarian. “He goes above and beyond for his people and will drop everything to take care of things at his farms. Don is one of a kind and I’m so proud to be on his team.”

The dedication he has to his farms is recognized by many, including the team at Popcorn sow farm. “He goes above and beyond his supervisor role by pitching in and helping wherever needed, whether it be cleaning barns, moving pigs, or loading out pigs- he’s always a reliable extra hand.” They go on to add, “Don makes us feel valued and appreciated.”

Louis, the manager of Jernquist sow farm, recalls a time when Don went out of his way to lend a helping hand. “I called Don on a Saturday when our farm broke with PRRS and he was at the farm within an hour. I didn’t ask or expect him to show up, he did it out of kindness.”

Louis isn’t the only one to mention this. Adam, manager of Sow 118, says Don always goes out of his way to help. “Whether it was my farm that was short-handed or someone else’s, Don was there, for all of us.”

Don shares that working at Iowa Select Farms has helped him become a better leader and communicator. “I was able to see and learn many aspects of this company over the years and now I get to share that with other people and help them grow as well.”

Part of Don’s role is to ensure his farms have everything they need to succeed. “When Don visits our farm, he talks with everyone and makes us all feel comfortable and valued,” said Bert, manager of Thayer sow farm. “He brings a lot of knowledge with him but makes all of us feel like we are a part of the bigger picture."

He knows that it all starts with the beginning of each day which, for him, means a positive attitude and trying to make his coworkers’ lives easier.

“Don has been my boss for about 10 years now and he has always been a sounding board and mentor,” said Phillip, a sow farm supervisor. “In the past two years, he has really been the person I have leaned on in my new role and I admire his patience and dedication.”

When asked if he would like to share anything else, Don has wisdom he wants to pass along. Being in his 23rd year at Iowa Select Farms, he feels that he has grown exponentially and learned many valuable lessons.

Don starts by sharing the importance of having balance in your life. He says that whatever your balance is, whether it’s family, faith, work or hobbies, if one becomes lopsided if affects the others. Getting it back on track starts with a great support system, and for Don, that’s his family. His wife Laura and his three daughters Samantha, Courtney and Jamie mean the world to him.
His next piece of advice is helping others to be the best they can be, not only at work, but in their personal lives as well. Don makes a connection with everyone he works with and finds value in encouraging people grow where they are planted and to be the best they can be.

Lastly, Don believes that the more you help other people, the more successful you will be. Operating with the mindset that the team always comes first allows him to keep everyone’s best interests in mind.

Doug, the manager of Last Chance sow farm says Don is always first to help. “Whether you are running short handed or just need supplies, Don always pitches in. He brings out the best in his managers.”

“We are all working towards the same goal, and that’s great animal care. It all starts with uplifting our teammates.”

It’s because of an attitude like this that Don is more than deserving of this award. He continues to go above and beyond to provide for his farms. “Seeing Iowa Select Farms and its employees be successful fills me with great joy.”

Thank you, Don, for your commitment to your job and your people. We are so grateful for you!