When we launched our ag tech leadership series, we did so with the intention of spotlighting the people behind our brand. Why? Because consumers are more likely to trust a company when they know more about the team behind the brand. Our series began with a look at women in agriculture as we introduced our CEO and Co-founder Deb Casurella. Then, we dug into life on the farm as we spotlighted Jeremy Wilson, our Project Manager and Co-Founder and Rex Garthaus, our Field Technology Analyst.
This week, we are cultivating some thoughts and insight on MyAgData from the perspective of our new Chief Technology Officer, Ken Ullsperger. As Chief Technology Officer, Ken builds and manages the technology organization by applying technology solutions to business requirements, applying process discipline leading the expansion of MyAgData product design and development and its technical team.
Much like what we did with Deb, Jeremy and Rex, we sat down with Ken and harvested some questions about his experience and passion for agriculture.
What made you want to work in the agriculture industry?
Actually, the ag industry found me. When considering coming onboard with MyAgData, I conducted some extensive research on ag, specifically ag tech, and realized this position was too good to pass up. I support MyAgData’s mission to streamline acreage reporting for producers, insurers and agents. Coming from a blue-collar family, I understand how diligently this team works to make the lives of those in the ag industry easier. For me, the experience has been immensely appealing and personally rewarding. From a purely geeky standpoint, the tech stack at MyAgData is in a great position. The opportunity to further implement and enhance our existing modern development practices seemed like too much fun to turn down.
Have you faced any challenges in the ag industry and if so, how did you overcome them?
There’s so much to learn about this industry. My challenge is allocating the capacity needed to absorb the business side of agriculture. I need to understand it well enough to utilize the correct technologies for the industry, and the solutions we’re bringing to the ag market. There are some challenges like not having access to network connectivity in a remote field. How can we make our application resilient to network conditions? These are issues that my team looks forward to solving.
What accomplishment are you most proud of on your resume?
Over the course of my career, I have been very fortunate to be part of great teams. I like to believe that the career progression observable by looking at my resume is a result of being wise and humble enough to learn from the people that surround me. Specifically, I’m proud of the reoccurring theme of success that the companies I’ve worked for have achieved.
Why do you believe it’s important to simplify the acreage reporting process for farmers, crop insurance agents and ag service providers?
TurboTax made it simple to report your information to the IRS, saving people an enormous amount of time and money. At MyAgData, we’re doing the same for farmers and insurance providers. Increasing the productivity of the people tasked with providing food for the world is one of the more noble endeavors I’ve embarked upon in my career.
What do you think sets MyAgData apart from other ag data companies?
What impresses me the most about MyAgData is our company’s ability to be well-balanced. We have people with broad ag industry knowledge, and a history of success in leadership. Our team has a strong understanding of technology, specifically modern development practices that I suspect few other ag companies can match.
What are your top three personal values?
My personal values have changed over the years, but I’ve found that effort, discipline and humility are a great core to start from in any profession.
Do you have a favorite quote or philosophy on life?
Too many to list! The one I’ve been telling my kids a lot lately is: the most powerful words in the world are “I don’t know”. If you’re confident enough to utter them, a closed door can fly open.
If you could change something in the ag industry, what would it be and why?
Well, that’s why we’re here, right? When we solve problems, we’re making the world better for the ag enthusiasts who come after us. Our specific niche in ag is simplifying and streamlining the process of reporting agriculture data. We’ll mainstream that solution then see what’s next.
What advice would you give to a potential client who is seeking to streamline their acreage reporting needs?
Thanks for the softball question! I’d tell them to contact us at MyAgData and we’ll get that ball rolling for them.