Published on June 21, 2022
Meet T.J. Koewler
Following a recent announcement of a new General Manager, Americas for the turkey business of Hendrix Genetics, we are pleased to give you a short introduction to T.J. Koewler.
What is your background?
I started in the rendering business when I was in high school. My great grandfather got into the rendering business in the 1920s in Sacramento, CA. My father (third generation) and cousin (fourth generation) still operate the business today. I grew up working at the station in Reno, NV through high school and my undergraduate studies. So, I was really in the front lines as a laborer, and I worked my way up to a driver and then became a supervisor and just grew from there.
When I graduated from University of Nevada, Reno, it was my initial desire to work at their company. After some conversations with my dad and uncle, we decided that I would be better served spending some time away from the family. This allowed me to grow as an individual and looking back, it was the best decision I have ever made. It is what took me to Europe and Canada, allowed me to learn a new language, and provided the opportunity to meet lots of great people. It allowed me to expand my skill set by learning from different cultures; both personally and professionally.
Who is your mentor and why?
My dad. I spent time working for my dad and I can remember one of his earliest concepts when he made me a supervisor was the idea that I needed to understand the work of the people I was supervising. I still carry this with me today and I think it has been a big part of my success thus far as I’m not afraid to get in and get my hands dirty. This allows me to connect with people, from those on the front lines through to those in senior management roles.
I think another learning, and one of the things that made his business successful over the long haul has been the idea that everyone must stand on their own merit. With that concept in mind, my dad instilled a great work ethic that I still carry with me today. The ethic is based on always doing the right thing, treating others with respect, and never getting comfortable. I think these guiding principles are foundational elements in all businesses within the agriculture industry.
What drew you to this role within agriculture and working for Hendrix Genetics?
My career this far has really been slaughterhouse forward, and in terms of an agribusiness career, I was missing the part of raising animals prior to slaughter. So that part really had my appeal. But, I would say more importantly, as I learned about Hendrix Genetics and the way the company was set up, the way it was managed, and after talking to a handful of people I just got a really good sense for the company culture and its values and that sounded really appealing. I think probably the biggest piece is the company culture. Although it’s a big global company it seems pretty much like its managed more or less like a family business, and that has my interest.
What are you most looking forward to in this role?
I am excited to get out and see facilities first-hand and meet the hard-working people in the industry. I really hope to build strong relationships so that I can get my arms around everything that we do today. Along the way I hope to find opportunities and ways we can improve.
Outside of work, what do you like to do?
My wife Monique and I have four kids, Hudson (9), Mackenzie (7), Brooklyn (5), Cash (2). Keeping them busy and then burning that energy outside is probably one of the things we enjoy doing the most! I enjoy coaching my son’s baseball teams, which is a lot of fun. Personally, I enjoy fly-fishing and golfing when I can. Traveling is also a passion of mine and I look forward to going and seeing all of the various Hybrid Turkey farm operations within Hendrix Genetics.
Is there anything we missed that you would like to mention?
I’d just like to say for those that I’ve met and those that I have yet to meet, thank you for sharing your experience with me. I am open and willing to learn and very eager to dive into this new role with lots of energy and motivation.