Our People Set Us Apart
By: Emily Boelke, VP of Human Resources
At NuWay-K&H Cooperative, our Diversity, Innovation and Exceptional Value come from one source: our people. We’re famous for telling our customers: “we have no proprietary products. “The products we provide to you can be purchased elsewhere. What sets us apart from our competitors is our people.” We hire and retain the most talented and the most service-minded people. In this issue of the Communicator, I want to introduce four new employees of NuWay-K&H Cooperative: Jake Blindauer, Anna Curry, Jackson Hopkins, and Cole Ziemer.
“I want to be someone (the cooperative) can rely on to do what needs to be done,” says Jake, who began work in NuWay-K&H Agronomy operations this past April. Jake grew up in Brooklyn Park, MN. After graduating from Champlain Park High School, he attended South Dakota State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in human development/family studies in 2021. After university, Jake landed a job in Rogers, MN, working as a warehouse associate with Graco, a manufacturer of paint sprayers and hydraulic pumps. He married Brittany last October, and the couple moved to Odin, MN. “I like being out in the country, so moving out here wasn’t a hard decision at all,” he explains. Currently, Jake works at the Welcome liquid facility, helping fill chemical shuttles for farmers, fixing shuttle pumps, and helping deliver boxed chemicals. “I’ve always been a more hands-on, active person who wants to move around instead of sitting behind a desk,” continues Jake. “I want to learn anything—working with sprayers, fixing sprayers, propane . . . .” After work, Jake and Brittany like to try new cooking recipes, take walks together, spend time at area lakes and travel. They recently came back from a Carnival cruise where they visited Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Mexico.
After several years in banking and government, Anna brings her considerable experience in accounting to NuWay-K&H. Anna grew up near South Branch. Her grandfather and father farmed, but Anna moved to St. James after graduating high school. There she worked in the banking industry for 10 years, first as teller, then in bookkeeping and loan processing. That led to seven years with Watonwan County, first in the DMV which she eventually managed and then in the County Auditor’s office. Looking for a change, in June, Anna began work in accounting services with NuWay-K&H at the cooperative’s Trimont office. “So far, this is a very nice company to work with,” says Anna. “They appreciate their employees and go above and beyond to make sure we’re all comfortable.”
“Every time I went into the Algona store, I got positive vibes from the employees and the way they treated their customers,” says Jackson, explaining what motivated him to join NuWay-K&H Cooperative at our Cenex Convenience Store in Thompson, IA. Jackson grew up in Forest City, IA. He began working construction jobs with his dad at 12 years old. He still works construction with his dad, in addition to his full-time job at the Thompson C-store. Before joining NuWay-K&H in March, Jackson managed the kitchen at a C-store in a neighboring town. Jackson and his wife Sierra have a two-year-old daughter and a son who will turn one year old this month. The family lives in Forest City. In addition to his work and his family, Jackson has a passion for yardwork: mowing, weeding and working in the garden.
“I personally like applicating,” says Cole Ziemer, who joined NuWay-K&H Cooperative in May. “It’s cool seeing farmers succeed based on what we do for them.” Cole grew up on a farm near Fairmont. After graduating from high school in Granada, he continued a job he started when he was 16: working at a local nursery-finish hog operation. After two years, he hired on with Crystal Valley Cooperative as an applicator. He did that for a year out of their Jackson facility, then joined the agronomy division of NuWay-K&H at Welcome on May 21st. Cole, who now lives in Sherburn, brings farming experience and his licensing and experience as an applicator to his new job. “I love long hours,” he states. In his free time, Cole fishes a lot, rides a Harley and builds cars.