Thursday brought our formal individual and class photos – FINALLY! Then we presented our Capstone ideas in a Shark Tank format. Over 25 creative ideas were shared in creative and fun ways! “Mark and Lori” (also known as Toby and Christy) were great hosts!! There was a strong emphasis on ag education, such as turnkey soil fact packs, cart with a farmer (at a grocery store) and raising awareness of ag careers to job seekers and career changers.

We concluded the morning with a tour of the Minnwest Technology Campus and Nova-Tech Engineering. MinnWest Campus has developed 37 buildings on the 110-acre historic site following the closure of the Willmar State Hospital. The Minnwest purpose is “to attract and retain business partners to an innovative, collaborative, and unique environment by providing an excellent customer experience to positively impact economic development in our region.” They’ve done an excellent job of repairing, remodeling and marketing their campus. What started as the home to 12 companies and 125 employees has blossomed to 27 companies and 777 employees. They will work with companies to develop specific space requirements and then lease to them long-term. Win-win for the campus and the company.


Nova-Tech Engineering started our tour with their purpose, core values and pillars of leadership. Their purpose is to create revolutionary solutions that advance our customers ability to feed the world. They truly “walk the talk” in that they don’t start with an established idea and improve upon it, but rather, come up with innovative solutions. That was evident in that they hold 10 US patents. What started as a two person company in 1992 has mushroomed to over 260 professionals. Their equipment can be found in 600 hatcheries in 55 countries around the world. Interesting to note was the value they place on leadership within the company. All employees take the Clifton Strengths based test (their top five strengths are on their name placard) and a leader will discuss it with them. Employees have an advocate that will help them with personal development and growth; opportunities to advance within the company are abundant.

Lunch followed with our peer circles and fellows for most of the groups to evaluate how that process is working. Golden Nuggets and an optional trip to Nada Carter’s farm rounded out the seminar.

Submittted by Nada Carter

Farm photography by Katie Knapp, The Ag Photographer (Class XI)


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