Engage Agro recently appointed Steve Stansell as the new Country Manager of Engage Agro USALLC. A graduate of Louisiana State University, Stansell comes to Engage with 27 years of experience in the industry. He worked for 10 years with ICI Americas in Western Iowa, and has also held important roles at Syngenta and Rotam.
“I am excited to have Steve aboard as we move into 2016 and beyond,” says Ray Chyc, President of Engage Agro USALLC. “Steve is a great individual, and has that ‘boots on the ground’ get-it-done attitude coupled with the strategic thought that we need. He is just as comfortable in the field as he is in the boardroom.”
Greenhouse Grower recently caught up with Stansell and asked him a few questions about his new role and how he plans to work with growers in the greenhouse industry.
GG: How did your previous experience prepare you for this new role?
Stansell: As we all know, experience comes with time. Over the last 25 plus years, I have had the privilege to be in this industry and gain experience in sales, sales management, and product marketing for both crops and professional products. This experience has allowed me to understand the importance of strong relationships with both internal customers and, most importantly, paying customers. All these roles and learning opportunities from interacting with great customers and co-workers and managers give me the confidence to be a part of this experienced Engage Agro USA team.
GG: What are the some of the biggest issues or concerns you’ve heard from the growers you work with, and how do you plan to help them deal with these issues?
Stansell: All growers have similar concerns: how do I produce a quality product, and can I make enough money every year to continue my operation? Our team at Engage Agro USA will continue to support our customers, whether it’s our distributors, retailers, or our growers, with innovative quality products, new business tools, and sound advice. Our goal is to stay relevant to the changes and challenges they continue to face in their operations and be a valued asset to them.
GG: What are the biggest challenges this industry is currently facing? Conversely, what are some of the biggest opportunities on the horizon?
Stansell: I believe one of the biggest challenges facing the industry today is the spread of misinformation from non-creditable sources. There is a constant barrage of attacks against the industry that can spread with today’s social media tools or through the Internet without any checks or balances. They quickly become thought of as facts before anyone has a real chance to have a discussion about the source that generated the information or quality of the data. This is not a totally new phenomenon, but for those who have other agendas contrary to our industry, these tools have allowed them quicker access to a wider audience. With that said, this technology and the way information is communicated is not going away or slowing down, so we have to embrace these tools and use them to our advantage to teach, educate, and promote the wonderful technologies and solutions that the industry provides. The future is so bright, we need to make sure we stay in the discussion and drive it, not be driven.
GG: Looking ahead, what role can you play in moving this industry forward?
Stansell: This is a big question. My first role is to ensure my team and I at Engage Agro USA steward our products and advise for our customers with integrity. As far as the industry, I’m a big proponent of using traditional chemistries in combination with all the new exciting biological products moving forward. I’m excited for the second half of my career to help promote these new ways of improving yield, quality, and profit. I believe we are just at the beginning of an exciting new group of products that can help growers meet the issues they face today and find ways to continue to improve what we do in the future. If I can assist my team at Engage Agro USA and help find new and innovate ways to bring new technologies forward for our customers, I will be satisfied in my small role in this industry.
GG: If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?
Stansell: Well, as I’m sure most avid golfers would say, the PGA tour would have been nice. But when I look around and visit with my friends and neighbors who work outside of this industry, and discuss their jobs and industries, it would be hard to see me doing anything else. It’s truly a profession that I have enjoyed being a part of.