Ryan Celebrates 20 with Iowa Select Farms
A huge congratulations are in order for Ryan, who's celebrating 20 years with Iowa Select Farms!
Since nearly his entire career has been spent working in gilt developers, Ryan's had a front row seat to the many changes and major milestones at Iowa Select Farms.
"I couldn't even tell you how many breed projects I've done," he chuckled. "Every single one was different and had a unique purpose, whether helping a farm recover after a devastating fire or preparing a new sow farm for a successful start. They've all marked lots of changes and growth at the company."
Ryan was first hired as an animal caretaker at Stumme Sow 3. Three years later, he was promoted to GDU Manager. He's worked in the GDU's ever since as manager, multi-site manager and now in special projects. "I'm not quite sure what my official job title is, but I get to travel to different farms helping wherever needed," he explained. "Whether a farm is short staffed, needs additional training, has a new manager… you name it, and I can help."
Ryan loves the opportunity to train new managers and firmly believes in the power of positivity. "As a manager, your team is going to take direction from you, including your attitude," he said. "It's crucial that managers are optimistic, encouraging and help their team focus on the farm's goals. Even though the work might not always be fun, it's up to the manager to keep the big picture in mind and keep the farm moving towards their goals."
That positivity was in full force when Ryan spearheaded the Colfax Breeding Project with a team of fourteen employees. "That was the largest group I've ever had at a breeding project, but it was also arguably the most fun," he smirked. "Everyone got along really well and was super friendly, which I think contributed to us hitting our large breed targets. It's always fun to get a group of good people together and work towards a common goal."
When he's not motivating employees on-farm, Ryan does a lot of the same work but has a co-pilot-his wife, LaRae. Together, the couple has four children (Taylor, Aubrey, Josie and Aidan) that their lives revolve around. Between 4-H, FFA, raising lambs, showing cattle and sports, they stay very busy! Ryan also volunteers his time at the local Iowa Falls Moose Lodge, a fraternal organization that raises money for an orphanage and retirement home.
The family-friendly values of Iowa Select Farms are one of the things he admires most about the company. "They've always been very compassionate towards us and our families; treating us to special paid days off together at Adventureland and the Iowa State Fair," he said. "Those have been some really fun memories for our family."
In addition to the company's values, Ryan has always appreciated feeling like more than "just a number."
"Twenty years ago, we weren't anywhere near the size that we are now, but through the growth we have managed to keep it a family-run place and there's something to be said about that," he said. "I appreciate that everyone still knows each other and is always willing to lend helping hand."
Congratulations on 20 amazing years, Ryan! We are so luck to have a friendly, hardworking leader like you on our team.