Northeast Iowa was home to Dan Rodas when he was growing up. The family dairy farm provided learning experiences, challenges and satisfaction of seeing a job completed from start to finish. The hard work and commitment continues today as Dan is supervisor over six Pipestone Management farms.
This farm boy started riding around on the tractor with Grandpa at age three. “I was a farm kid who enjoyed working with animals, something I learned from both my parents and grandparents.” Dan said with great admiration “those values were just the beginning for me and I have relied on my upbringing many times.”
“Of course, I was active in 4-H and FFA all through high school” Dan said with a smile. “Both organizations taught me leadership skills and teamwork.” Dan served as President of his 4-H group and Treasurer of the FFA. “I had great advisors and leaders in both 4-H and FFA, our teams went to the State and National in Dairy Judging” said Dan “I think I was lucky to have had those experiences.”
Dan was a senior in high school and looking for a summer job, when he happened upon a Pipestone Management help wanted ad and figured he would give it a shot. The summer was spent working at Prairie Gold, which was a newly constructed barn and in the start up phase. “I had never been around hogs before, but I was willing to learn and they were willing to teach me.” As summer came to an end, Dan headed off to college. A little undecided after the first semester, Dan came back to work for the System. “It was a job that offered good pay, benefits and an opportunity to advance, so I thought I would work for awhile”. That was 10 years ago.
Dan worked in both the gestation barn and farrowing barn under the leadership of Steve Kruse. “ Steve was a very good teacher and mentor” Dan said “he taught me the extra stuff, like what the record keeping meant, it was not just numbers on paper, but he showed me the big picture”. Training, animal welfare, records and production were just a part of Dan’s curriculum at Pipestone Management. The Managers in Training (MIT) class offered by the System added to the skills Dan gained with Steve’s guidance.
Setting goals and working hard toward achieving them have definitely paid off for Dan. He has worked at one farm, worked his way up to a manager at two different farms and then was promoted to Supervisor in the fall of 2011 of six farms in Iowa and South Dakota. “I’ve gotten to move a couple of times and have enjoyed the opportunity to grow” stated Dan, taking a look back over his career with Pipestone. What goes around comes around is an anomaly that is often heard. Now, Dan is teaching and instilling his values and sharing the big picture with the managers and department leads of the farms he supervises.
As Dan so graciously shared, “Steve exemplified what being part of the System is really about, I’m thankful that I was able to start my career with Steve as my supervisor.” The System recognized Steve Kruse in April of 2012 as the recipient of the first Annual Pipestone Management David Neuberger II Core Values Award.
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