Employees are one of the most important ingredients in our recipe for success. Through our Employee Spotlight Blog Series, we like to highlight the people who serve our customers! Derek Shalla found his passion for agriculture at a young age through his family’s farm and 4-H involvement. Since 2009, he has been selling equipment/precision ag technology for the Stutsman team!
We strive to instill the Stutsman core values in everything we do and of course, our employees are a major part of this. “Derek is a great representation of all the Stutsman Core Values. From his positive personality to his dedication to providing outstanding customer service, I am glad to have him on our team.” – Al Kessler, VP of Equipment & Precision Ag Technology.
What is your background?
I grew up in Kalona, IA where we raised corn, soybeans, wheat, hogs, and cattle. I graduated from Washington High School, then went to Indian Hills Community College. I finished my college career with a bachelor’s degree in ag business and a minor in economics from Iowa State University.
What do you consider to be the most rewarding part of your job?
Helping customers! There is no better feeling than helping a customer resolve an issue that will make his/her operation more efficient and profitable. I have been very fortunate with customers that relay their gratitude by calling or stopping in to say thank you!
If you had to eat the same food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Frozen mini Snickers! Something about cold caramel and frozen chocolate is hard for me to resist.
What is your favorite thing about the ag industry?
Change! Technology is always changing. The innovation of products makes every day different which keeps it exciting!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am a family man! I really enjoy spending time with my two boys and wife. My oldest is starting to get into sports, so I like to practice with him and go to his activities. When I’m not with my family, I spend a lot of time helping friends and family with miscellaneous building and remodeling projects. I also like to go golfing a couple times a year when there is time!
If you were stuck on an island, what 3 items would you bring with you?
I would bring a hammock, an iPhone to FaceTime my family with, and floaties (I am not the best swimmer).
What’s on your bucket list?
Travel to all 50 states!
What has been the biggest change in the industry during your career?
Technology. When I first started, it was very hard to show people that automated steering was worth investing in. Now, after 8 years, it seems like most growers have seen the value of this investment, and now we are seeing self-driving tractors on the horizon. It is crazy to see how far everything has come.
What is your favorite season; why?
Spring! I enjoy being hands-on with the equipment we sell and spring just happens to be when most of it is starting to be used. Plus, I really enjoy the weather.
What is something random most people don’t know about you?
When I was five years old I was involved in a lawn mower accident. My leg was struck by the riding mower damaging my right knee and causing me to lose two toes.
What would be the title of your autobiography?
Me; for Dummies.