A Talented Team

Aug 03, 2023

As you probably know, we were part of Ag Night at the K with the Kansas City Royals this past Tuesday, August 1. If you were like me and hundreds of others, you arrived and got to relax. You were treated to delicious burgers and dogs from the Hertzog Meat Company. You got a scoop of creamy hand-scooped ice cream by JoEllen & Matt Fincham from The Parlor ice cream truck. You enjoyed cold drinks as you played cornhole, watched your kids throw speed pitch, listened to music, or visited vendor booths. Then you went inside Kauffman Stadium where the festivities continued. You visited our stations inside the concourse where thousands of urban fans enjoyed sensory grain booths showing the process of how a seed is grown and harvested on its way to becoming food on your table. The amazing technology employed in agriculture by our drone team. Also, the incredible efforts that our farming community puts into sustainably feeding the world with the Globally Responsible Production (GRP) program. Then you watched as a fantastic group of ladies representing women in agriculture were honored on the field before the game. You watched as Ag Partners Cooperative, Inc board president, Kent Heinen, delivered the game ball to the mound – the same mound the Royals scripted Ag Partners' logo on the backside of. You saw an entire game experience in a Major League ballpark completely committed to honoring agriculture, and to top it all off, the Royals won on a balk after coming from 2 runs down in extra innings. In short – it was amazing! What you probably didn't see was the work of a talented team that stood behind the scenes and made it all happen. They are the focus of this week's thoughts.

Ag Partners and the Royals started dreaming together a way to do more than the cursory "Thank you farmers" on the scoreboard for Ag Night less than a month ago. As the outline started to come together, the team of Jessica Hermeschkassie pechanec, Lindsay Whitten, Brenna Eilert, and Kristina Sudbeck went to work. They created a crazy big vision that would require a lot of resources to become a reality, but the last thing they were going to do was ask farmers to pay for their own party. They worked with counterparts on the Ag Partners team to connect with generous vendors, help them see the vision, and gain the resources to make the event a reality. They worked with the Royals to secure 1,500 (you read that right) tickets to give away to farming families, FFA students, and community supporters and amazingly distributed them with parking passes seamlessly. They secured an entire parking lot and made arrangements for tents, tables, chairs, bathrooms, food, and drinks. They worked with the team to arrange kids' games, cornhole, hitting nets, and more. They designed logos that met MLB standards for the digital displays and backstop behind home plate. They created promotional material and interactive event spaces that connected rural producers with urban consumers. They expanded the team with volunteers across Ag Partners and beyond (shoutout to Hertzog Meat Company for providing a refrigerated truck with their fantastic meat & Josh Miller at SGC Foodservice for helping with food and grilling) to ensure it was all executed as flawlessly as imaginable. Frankly, they pulled off an incredible visual and logistical feat in only a few weeks.

So how did they do it? They accomplished it by being the team we should all try to mimic. Jessica showed flawless, and frankly, incredible organizational leadership. Kassie utilized her brilliant creative skills. Brenna selflessly supported wherever needed. Lindsay navigated booth creations and brought GRP urban connections to life. Kristina pulled connections from everywhere and tied pieces together. They worked together, supporting, encouraging, and pushing each other. They did all of this together even though only 3 of the 5 are actually in marketing and did it without the slightest ask for credit. They modeled exactly what a team should be.

I am incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to see the work of this group on a daily basis, and I'm constantly amazed at the work they do. Jessica leads a team that tirelessly ensures Ag Partners participates well in our local communities, designs brilliant graphical connections between urban consumers and the farmers we represent, and ensures we are communicating with a large number of consumers in a fun, professional, and consistent manner.

Before I get to this week's challenge, I have an ask. Please join me in sending them notes of thanks and congratulations. They pulled off an incredible feat to honor those in agriculture on all of our behalf and did it completely behind the scenes. I would personally love for them to know it was appreciated.

Now for this week's challenge… Take a minute to evaluate your team. Is it functioning like the team I described? Are you doing more than expected, ensuring flawless execution, focusing on detail, and being proactive in everything it pursues? If not, are you being the right type of teammate to ensure that changes? Great teams accomplish great things – bet the reason yours does!

I’m thankful that you were willing to go to work today, that you took the time to read this, and for being a part of what makes our world amazing!