February 10, 1988, was my first day at my first real job after graduating from college. I was surprised to find a job in my field in Early. And, truth be told, I’m even more surprised I’m still at the same job here 30 years later! It wasn’t my plan, however, plans do change when you fall in love and get married!

I totally own being an anomaly in my 30-year tenure at Heartland Marketing Group. When you search for statistics on how many times people change jobs during their career, you find Bureau of Labor Statistics data saying most people have held 10 jobs by the time they are 40. Another measure from the Bureau says people’s job tenure averages 4.6 years per employer.

Ooops. I’m six jobs behind!

Regardless of what statistics say, I’m right where I want to be! Over the decades at HMG, what we do, how we do it, as well as who we do it for and with has changed over time. Those changes have kept my work interesting and challenging. I hope, too, over those years I have grown in my abilities, expertise, and contribution to how we serve our customers.

My role has shifted from copy writing only to account management to strategic planning and more for HMG. Without question, I would not be here if it weren’t for Barb’s leadership, mentoring, and intentionally allowing us to own our jobs – giving us freedom and related responsibility to do what’s right for HMG and our customers. I love my job, my co-workers, our customers, and being able to do it three blocks from where I live but travel all over the country as well.

We describe our work as story-telling for our customers. We have shared the message of politicians, cooperatives, feed ingredient manufacturers, equipment dealers, ag industry associations, biodiesel and aquaculture start-ups, ethanol plants, auditors, builders, photographers, specialty grain merchandisers, and more! We’ve also had our fingers in public policy work.

I like to tell the story of the US 20 Corridor Association. Growing up south of Galva, I heard from birth that US 20 would one day be four-lane across Iowa. HMG had the opportunity to go to work for the Association not long after I started and this year, we will work ourselves out of a job when the statewide four-lane is complete! Our last responsibility will be to assist the Association, along with the Iowa Department of Transportation, with planning the ribbon cutting and long-awaited celebration. In the beginning, we simply prepared and distributed the Association’s newsletter. Over time, our role became much more strategic and included marketing plans, event management, and lobbying at all levels and branches of government.

This is just one of many success stories HMG can tell. I’m proud and grateful to have been part of this company for 30 of its 35 years and look forward to many more!