Thursday, November 9, 2017

What I Learned from Tom Burrus

I believe that everything happens for a reason and not just by chance. I believe that God put Tom Burrus and others in our lives as teachers and I was able to learn something from Tom every day.  I will try to touch on some of the most meaningful things that I will cherish always. He taught me:
This is a picture of the last field day that Tom and I attended together in September of 2017 near Reddick, Illinois.  The corn and soybean field day was hosted by Jason Zimmer with topics that included high yielding soybeans and and an update on soybean technologies.
1.) The seed business and its history, as this is something I had not ever experienced before.  He was proud of his family's impact on the seed business not only in the past, but also their future business plan.

2.) Pride of product, seed quality, and seed treatment and basically, how to be an honest salesman (or woman).

3.) How to manage my time, so that I could work a 26 hour day, but remember my family and to have always have fun.  I will never forget his little chuckle and the way he bounced when something tickled him.

4.) Co-workers are family, and no matter what they do, they should be treated fairly and with respect.

5.) Our Dealers and customers are family. If they need me, they know I care and I will go above and beyond for them.

6.) If I make a mistake, I take ownership of it. I will face it square on and no matter how bad it may seem, I will make it right, then learn from my “bad day.”

7.) Respect is something that is earned, and it does not come easy.

8.) How to work a room or a crowd. I will never be able to do this like Tom Burrus, but I will never forget everyone’s smiles when he told his “stories/jokes.”  His daughter, Lori said that many remember him starting his jokes with, "Marcy said I can't tell this, but...."

9.) Never be afraid to stand up for what I believe is right, even when everyone else is afraid.  Never be afraid to call bullsh*t.

10.) My gender does not matter. He believed in me and I believed in him, as well as everything he and his family have worked for over the years. This is not just because he (and the Burrus/Hughes families) hired me to do a job, but because this is what my own family would do too, if put in many of the same situations.


He will be greatly missed, but forever in our hearts.  Goodbye Tom, Stephanie Porter, Burrus Seed Sales Agronomist.

Special thanks to Holly Spangler of Prairie Farmer for including my thoughts in her blog, Remembering the Grand Gentleman of the Seed Business.


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