At the beginning of February, the Times ran a story about the job market, and about some young people who are taking jobs right out of high school with companies that can train them.
In looking for people to talk to, we came across one man who is a story all on his own.
Todd Vincent, 52, a 1983 graduate of Nevada High School now living in Huxley, took a job right out of high school and has stayed with the same company for 35 years. Vincent will be recognized for 35 years of service to ALMACO when the Nevada company honors employees for their service at the end of this year.
Vincent’s road to success actually started in high school, and some of it can be attributed to the fortunes of having a grandfather, Jack Vincent, who owned a trucking company. This gave Vincent opportunities to learn things like welding and mechanics while growing up.
When he was a senior at Nevada High School, Vincent did a job-shadow program, where he was first sent to spend time at Ryerson Implement, and then followed that with a stint job-shadowing Gary Clem, the owner and CEO of ALMACO.
“I worked with Gary personally,” he said, and while he didn’t know it at the time, Clem would become his mentor and respected leader for many years.
“I guess you could say I was a service laborer when I started (at ALMACO). I was working for Gary at his farm and at ALMACO, right after its move to Nevada.” Vincent remembers when the ALMACO location was Iowa Paint, run by Mr. Pauly. “His son Doug was my classmate, so I’d been in this building. We used to ride our bikes through it.”
Vincent’s dream job was to become a diesel mechanic and some day work for Caterpillar. But while working for Clem, another idea was proposed. “Gary came to me and said, ‘If you’re going to stick here, if this is what you want to do, I’ll mentor you through.’” It was hard to pass up that kind of opportunity. “I always trusted what Gary told me. He was an influential leader, and I kind of followed on his heels.”
Vincent made a decision to stay and has never regretted it. He’s worked his way up from job-shadow general laborer, through positions as a welder/fabricator, a final assembler and a purchasing agent, to finally land in the sales department, where he’s taken on several roles and is currently a senior global sales executive for ALMACO, a research equipment manufacturer that does business all over the world.
Whatever Vincent has been asked to do with ALMACO, he’s jumped in and done it. When they first moved him to sales, they actually created a sales position for him to get his feet in the door. He started with domestic sales, before diving into the global market. In global sales, he travels to Canada, China, South Africa, Puerto Rico and South America. He also manages the West Coast states of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, California and Arizona.
“Globally, I think Argentina and Chile are some of the prettiest places I’ve been,” he said. And he loves going to California because of the diverse crops they have there.
“We’re a solutions provider for the seed research industry. We (ALMACO) actually feed the world, working with companies that research and grow new varieties of seed… Day to day, it’s a variety of work, but in the end … I love bringing attention to farming and that we help feed the world.” He also likes that ALMACO works with entities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Harold Buffet Foundation in Africa, along with the USDA-ARS (Agriculture Research Service) center, land grant universities and major seed companies across the globe.
The thing he loves most about working at ALMACO is its family atmosphere. “It’s the main thing that’s kept me here… I like the family behind (ALMACO) and the cohesiveness of the organization,” he said.
As he thinks about the path he’s travelled, Vincent said it can be done — going to work for a great company right out of school. But as a father of two daughters, one in high school and one in college, he’s most importantly a proponent of education and hard work.
“My father and mother (Richard and Nancy Vincent, now living in Story City) had a very good work ethic … and I came here and the Clem family has the very same work ethic.”
In addition to working hard, Vincent has taken every opportunity for training and improving himself that the company has offered him. So whether education is being found in school or on the job, he feels you must take every opportunity to have more of it. Also, he said, “you’ve got to love your job. Make sure it’s something you’re really passionate about.”
Vincent admits it’s hard to believe he’s been at ALMACO for 35 years. “Thirty-five years, it just came up, and you think, ‘Where did all that time go?’”
It’s been a good stretch of years and a great opportunity that he fell into. He’s been happy he works for people who have cared about his family and have felt it was important that he has a balance in his life between work and family, and that’s not easy for someone who spends roughly 180 days on the road.
And for Vincent, it’s not over yet. He’s always felt that if he can continue to add value to the company, he’ll continue to work for them all the way through retirement. “I do have more to add to this company — you bet I do.”