Source: Iowa Select Farms
Like many employees, Doug’s career started as a part-time student and naturally progressed into a full-time role.
“I was doing a research paper on the swine industry while in high school and interviewed Darwin Miller, who worked at Iowa Select Farms,” recalled Doug. “While interviewing him for my paper he offered me a job. I remember him telling me I was the 110th employee.”
While studying swine management and agricultural business at Ellsworth Community College, Doug began working at Nursery 11 and then transitioned to Sow 11 so he could accommodate his busy class schedule. He would start his mornings early at the farm, head to class and then back to the farm in the afternoon.
“I was actually at Nursery 11 when they unloaded their first group of pigs,” he said. “There was only one barn built at the time and no office, so we used a kybo outside to shower and change. This was December, mind you. To say there’s been a lot of changes over the years would be an understatement.”
After graduation, Doug accepted a full-time job at Sow 11. It wasn’t long before he transferred to the research farm and then onto Sow 12. After a short period of time at Sow 12, Doug naturally transitioned into an ultrasound tech position and went around to seven different sow farms completing ultrasounds for several years.
In 1999, Doug was approached by Director of Grow-Finish, Allen Whiley, to manage some nurseries for the company. What turned into one farm quickly became two and at one point in time, Doug was managing 3-4 nurseries.
“Whenever they asked me to do something, I did,” chuckled Doug. “There was never a formal conversation about me being a supervisor, people just started calling me one because that’s what I was doing. That was ten years ago.”
Over the years, Doug has seen and experienced many changes. Take, for example, using a slide on the back of a school bus to unload wean pigs—a practice that used to be common among nurseries.
In his current role, Doug oversees 80,000 spaces and manages a team of 9 managers. And although he’s had a lot of success in his role, the best thing about his job has arguably been meeting his wife, Jaime, who started working at Iowa Select Farms the same time as Doug.
Together, the two have a soon to be four-year-old son, Eli, and enjoy spending as much time with him as possible, golfing and cheering on the Iowa State Cyclones. Doug’s Mother-in-Law, Jean, is also a longtime Iowa Select Farms employee.
“At some point your job becomes your life, but not in a bad way,” he said. “I’ve never thought about leaving because it’s always made sense. I’ve always enjoyed what I do to the point of it not being a job, but rather something that I enjoy doing every day. I feel really lucky in that regard.”
And luckily for Doug, he’s not the only one who has really enjoyed his job.
“I’ve worked with a lot of good people and many of them are still here, celebrating right alongside me,” he said. “I think everyone at Iowa Select enjoys their job. I mean, you don’t keep people here for 20 or 25 years without them enjoying their job. We’re always striving to do better, which makes it a really fun, rewarding place to work.”
As far as the future is concerned, Doug is looking forward to many more work anniversaries.
“I’ve always known the company would grow because we had a solid foundation to do so,” he said. “And we continue to evolve, even if we don’t necessarily get any bigger, we always get better. It’s been that way since day one.”
Congratulations on 25 years, Doug. We’re lucky to have you on our team!