Jake Celebrates 15 Years with Iowa Select Farms

posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Congrats to Jake for celebrating 15 years with Iowa Select Farms!
Jake is a member of our western Iowa maintenance team, a position he’s held for the entirety of his career; although, things look slightly different today than when Jake got his start with Iowa Select Farms in 2006.

“When I started there were two maintenance technicians, and we were each responsible for nearly 100 farms,” said Jake, who currently has 30-ish farms in his territory. “Our farms handled a lot more of their maintenance, but still, it was a lot! Our company and team have grown tremendously since then.”

Today, the western Iowa maintenance crew consists of seven technicians and two closeout technicians. It’s a close-knit group that always has each other backs.

“Our team is definitely one of the highlights of my job,” said Jake. “We have a really, really good core and all get along well. We know when it’s time to joke, but also when it’s time to buckle down and get ‘er done.”

Like most jobs at Iowa Select Farms, no two days for Jake are the same. In the fall and winter, he spends a lot of time working on heaters, in the spring it’s curtains and of course, there’s always some feed line issues sprinkled in between.

“Just like animal caretakers, our priority as maintenance techs is animal well-being and ensuring they have access to feed, air and water at all times,” he said. “That’s probably why no two days are the same. Just when you think you’ve got a plan, you get a level one ticket that involves a feed, air or water issue at a farm and it’s off you go to help them out. It takes all of us working together to be successful.”

That camaraderie and team spirit reminds Jake of one of his fondest memories at Iowa Select Farms, although it may not have been very fun in the moment.

“Many years ago, we had an ice storm that knocked out power for fourteen days,” he recalled. “We were running thirteen generators from site-to-site. It was nuts, but we got it all done and that’s when you saw the true leadership of the company and our values—helping each other out and doing whatever it takes for our animals.”

Outside of work, Jake enjoys spending time with family and riding motorcycles with his wife Lisa, who is a contractor for Iowa Select Farms at Jasper F662. In fact, Iowa Select Farms is a family affair for the Winkers. Jake’s uncle Rod was the one who encouraged him to apply fifteen years ago and his cousin Kevin is a grow-finish manager.

As a family, they enjoy giving back to their community at Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation events. “Giving out pork loins at Christmas time dancing around with Mrs. Claus is always a lot of fun,” he laughed. “I appreciate that the company is committed to giving back to the communities that employees and contractors call home.”

As far as what the future has in store, well, Jake’s not quite sure. He’s just grateful for every day and takes things as they come.

“It’s mind boggling to think how much things have changed over the years,” he said. “If I had to give advice to someone just starting their career out, I’d tell them to have patience, be kind and be adaptable. This industry is ever-changing and the past fifteen years is just an example of that. It’s been a wild ride and I am grateful.”

Way to go, Jake! You are such a fun addition to our team and we’re lucky to have such a hard-working maintenance tech (and contractor!) like you on our team.