Recognized as a Farmobile emerging leader
By the Farmobile Editors
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Farmobile Product Manager Jake Juarez was named last week as one of the 2019 Rising Stars by Agriculture Retailers Association (ARA). Jake was recognized during the annual ARA conference along with other leaders in agriculture. The Rising Star program recognizes, rewards and develops high achievers and emerging leaders within the agricultural retail field.
Jake recently shared some of the key learnings he has gathered along the way from the ag retail space and how those insights guide his work at Farmobile.
Q: What is your background in ag + ag retail? Where did it all begin?
A: I don’t have a traditional ag background! My love for ag started on a family dairy farm in northern Indiana. I was always the awkward city slicker cousin who would come stomp around the farm during summers, but as I grew older I decided to pursue a degree in psychology. After considering medical school, I decided to follow my passions and got an internship at CPS (now Nutrien Ag Solutions). That internship led to a role as a precision technology manager in southern Indiana/northern Kentucky, where I promoted precision ag adoption at numerous locations. After working closely in that arena, I decided that a career change was necessary to get me closer to software development within the ag space. And, that is how I ended up at Farmobile.
Q: What does the ARA Rising Star award mean to you?
A: This award means a lot. I love that Farmobile understands the importance of hiring people with industry experience. You can’t build good, domain-specific products without a solid understanding of the industry and consumers.
Q: What are the most important insights you’ve gained from ag retail?
A: Ag retail taught me the importance of providing value to your customers. Growers are constantly bombarded with choices regarding retailers, services, products, and technology. At the end of the day, they will only choose what can add the most value to their bottom line.
Q: How do those key learnings affect what you do at Farmobile?
A: As a product manager at Farmobile, I’m responsible for building products that meet customer needs and provide value. My past experience in ag retail taught me that growers aren’t looking for the next shiny new feature or technology, they are looking for tools and products that actually provide value. Every time we add a new feature, we must focus on whether or not this can help growers solve a problem that they have or allow them to increase efficiency.
Q: Where do you see ag-retail in the next 2-3 years?
A: Agriculture, in general, has typically been a very slow industry to change, but I think we will see some significant changes in ag retail in the next few years. Ag retailers will have to focus on increasing efficiency and embracing online transactions in order to keep up with changing farm dynamics. As more farmers near retirement age and decision-making transfers to younger generations, ag retail will have to adapt to support a changing customer base. I also think that the state of the farm economy is going to impact how retailers interact with growers.
Q: What skills or traits do you think led to your success?
A: I think the most important characteristics for success is a willingness to learn, empathy and luck. As someone with a non-traditional ag background, the people that surrounded me in the ag industry embraced my desire to learn. When I was an intern, I was constantly asking my colleagues to teach me something and trying to put myself in their shoes. Those traits and a healthy amount of luck have gotten me where I am today.
Q: What advice would you give to others?
A: My advice is to maintain a learning mindset, focus on teamwork, avoid complacency and don’t be afraid to take risks. It’s important that you surround yourself with individuals who you can learn from. When you join a team, bring as much value as you take away. Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams and be willing to take risks to get there!
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