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Eleven Participating in Ohio AgriBusiness Association’s LAUNCH Program

Program Prepares Future Agribusiness Leaders

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Eleven Ohio agribusiness leaders will soon take part in the Ohio AgriBusiness Association’s 2019 LAUNCH (Leaders Achieving Unexpected New Career Heights) program.

Participants were selected by their companies to undergo the robust executive leadership development program, which was created in partnership with Shift-ology Communication to help OABA member companies fill the looming void of leadership talent. More than 50 percent of the agriculture business workforce will retire in the next 10-15 years.

The 11 Ohio AgriBusiness Association members enrolled in the 2019 LAUNCH program include:

  • Alissa Armstrong, Seed Consultants
  • Derek Donovan, Mercer Landmark, Inc.
  • Samantha Funkhouser, Luckey Farmers Inc.
  • Curtis Grimm, Central Ohio Farmers Co-op, Inc.
  • Joshua Jennings, Global Impact STEM Academy
  • Eric Rife, Beck's Hybrids
  • Ben Seibert, United Producers, Inc.
  • Trent Ward, United Producers, Inc.
  • Christine Williams, Centerra Co-op
  • Elizabeth Wixtead, Ag Credit, ACA
  • Wyatt Zulch, Edon Farmers Co-op

LAUNCH prepares participants for successive leadership roles through a curriculum focused on developing individual skills and a global view of overall organizational needs. Capstone projects, between-session work assignments and in-person sessions all add to the depth of program.

Program topics include leading with purpose; determining and flexing your style of work with others; professional and executive presence; creating a positive culture; human resources; growing employee engagement; strategic planning; power of goodwill; working with state and federal government; decision making; courageous leadership; corporate sustainability; work-life balance and more.

More than 20 different speakers will provide their insight through multiple interactive sessions including Bernie Erven, Ph.D., who will deliver the opening keynote on “Getting to We.” Erven, professor emeritus of agricultural economics and primary consultant for Erven HR Services, will share insights and tools on how employers excite employees to move from “your company” to “our company.” A visit to the Ohio State House with key leaders and a visit to Cargill’s Sidney location will also be a part of the winter program.

“The LAUNCH program not only helps participants hone their leadership skills and their overall leadership skill-set, which is extremely important in an industry this is constantly evolving and adapting,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO, “but they also gain a supportive network of peers as we all work to navigate Ohio’s agricultural industry into the future.”

For additional information on OABA or the LAUNCH Program, contact Janice Welsheimer at 614-326-7520 or

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