November 30, 2020

Off to a Strong Start: New Team Members Grow at MaxYield


There are many different paths to success in life, just as there are different paths to a full-time career at MaxYield Cooperative. Some of our newest team members were former MaxYield interns, while others came to us through their job search during their senior year in college.

No matter how we connect with these young professionals, MaxYield offers a unique opportunity for all of them to gain the knowledgeand succeed.

Mason Mentink, agronomy specialist trainee

Sometimes the right opportunity doesn’t come along even when you think the time is right. “Just try again,” advises Mason Mentink.

“In the fall of 2015, I connected with MaxYield through Iowa State University (ISU) and interviewed for a MaxYield internship,” said Mentink, who grew up on a farm in southwest Iowa near Pisgah. “I didn’t get the job, though.”

By the time Mentink earned his ag business degree from ISU in December 2016, circumstances had changed. He landed a full-time agronomy specialist trainee job with MaxYield and started working in the co-op’s west region in January 2017.

Hands-on learning has come in a variety of forms for Mentink, who has handled crop scouting and soil sampling, in addition to working with the R7 precision ag tool and making work orders for MaxYield’s agronomy specialists. A variety of MaxYield mentors have guided him every step of the way.

“At a lot of companies, you’re given the job title and are expected to figure things out on your own,” Mentink said. “MaxYield’s trainee program gives you lots of support to shorten the learning curve and help you succeed.”

Mentink appreciates learning from experienced MaxYield team members like Nolan Hauge, agronomy specialist. “Nolan is a great teacher. It’s helpful to get his input throughout the growing season.”

All of this helps Mentink serve MaxYield’s clients effectively. “It’s an honor that clients put their trust in us to provide the agronomy solutions they need. These aren’t just clients to us; they’re friends.”

Mentink is excited to grow his career at MaxYield. “Not many companies or co-ops offer a trainee program like the one here. I’m grateful MaxYield offers this opportunity and wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Editor’s note: Mentink is preparing to marry his fiancé, Mariah, an Iowa Great Lakes native, in June 2018. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, boating and spending time outdoors.

Aaron Montag, operations assistant/client service representative

After working at MaxYield every summer since 2013, Aaron Montag brought a lot of experience to his roles as operations assistant/client service representative at the Emmetsburg location when he was hired full-time in May 2017.

“I like the variety of the work,” said Montag, a 2013 graduate of West Bend-Mallard High School. “No two days are alike.”

From his part-time roles to his full-time work, there isn’t much Montag hasn’t done. He has dumped grain in the fall, learned about SciMax Solutions’ precision ag services and is now expanding his skills in agronomy. It’s a good fit for someone who likes to learn and enjoys working outside.

“This fall the first priority will be fertilizer,” said Montag, who has been studying to get his applicator’s license and commercial driver’s license (CDL). “I’ll be working in a tender truck and might be interested in applicating.”

These new opportunities allow Montag to put his college degree to good use. After studying agriculture for two years at Iowa Lakes Community College, he transferred to South Dakota State University, where he completed his agricultural sciences degree with minors in animal science and ag business in May 2017.

The learning hasn’t stopped since Montag joined MaxYield full-time. “I have more responsibility and more accountability as I learn things like MaxYield’s internal computer system for billing.”

It helps that Montag was already familiar with the Emmetsburg location, since he worked there one summer when he was in college. It’s also a plus that MaxYield’s more experienced team members help guide new team members.

“All the team members I worked with are great,” said Montag, whose older brother, Chris, is the location leader at MaxYield’s West Bend location. “All you’ve got to do is ask and they’ll help teach you. They also won’t pressure you into doing something you’re not comfortable with.”

This helps build new team members’ confidence, skills and ability to move into new leadership roles. “I’m excited to see where this takes me,” Montag said. “If you want to grow your career, you have to put in the effort, but MaxYield will help you reach your goals.”

Editor’s note: In his free time, Montag enjoys riding his Honda motorcycle, fishing and helping his dad, Frank, on the family’s row-crop and beef cattle farm near West Bend.

Shelby Wagner, agronomy specialist trainee
A persistent spirit and willingness to work hard in a MaxYield summer internship proved to be a winning combination for Shelby Wagner, who has been a full-time agronomy specialist trainee since early January 2017.

“I really got a feel for how MaxYield values their team members during my internship last summer,” said Wagner, who was accepted into the internship program the second time she applied. “I was 100% sure I’d be interested in working here full-time.”

Wagner was impressed by MaxYield’s professionalism, welcoming environment and team culture. “It’s awesome,” said Wagner, who earned her agronomy degree from ISU in December 2016. “By the end of my internship I was calling on clients on my own. My internship helped me grow a lot as a person.”

The summer internship also helped Wagner learn about crop scouting, precision ag and more, although there was a lot more to discover. “All the hands-on agronomy experience I had in college only came from May through August. Now I’ve been through a spring agronomy season and I’m excited to experience my first fall agronomy season.”

Wagner has been learning how to calculate fertilizer rates for different fields, prepare agronomy work orders, mix crop protection products and more. She is also working on obtaining her CDL and has been learning more about how applicators do their job. “With my internship, I was strictly sales,” Wagner said. “Now I’m learning all parts of the business.”

She’s grateful for the support she’s received along the way from MaxYield team members, including agronomy specialists Tim Bruns and Mark Eisenman. “I’ve seen what works for them and have learned there is more than one way to cook a chicken, meaning there is more than one way to be successful.”

“Team members who are patient, experienced and willing to share their knowledge are priceless,” Wagner added. “MaxYield’s agronomy specialist trainee program is even better than I expected. If I had just gotten thrown into a full-time agronomy job, it would have been overwhelming. The trainee program gives me time to learn about seed, fertilizer and crop protection products, so when it’s time to take on more responsibility, I’m more prepared and knowledgeable with that.”

Wagner is excited to take the next steps in her career. “I’m really excited to be here and look forward to helping our clients find the right solutions for their operations.”

Editor’s note: Wagner, who is the daughter of Kirk and Julie Wagner, grew up on a farm near West Bend. In her free time, she enjoys hunting, fishing for crappies and bluegills, and raising her salsa garden filled with tomatoes, peppers and onions.


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