Thinking Ahead: The Key to Farm Success
We're thrilled to have Emily Schmitt, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel at Sukup Manufacturing Co., a third-generation family business.Today, we'll explore her unique perspective on preventative maintenance and much more. Emily's journey, growing up around the company, provides invaluable insight into her role today. We'll also dive into the dynamics of working with family members in the business and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Preventative maintenance with Emily Schmitt
As of February 2, 2021 - Emily Schmitt, a third-generation family member, was been promoted to Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel. She leads the legal, human resources, communications, strategic planning, and administrative functions of the company. Emily earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Iowa State University in 2008, and went on to earn a Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law with high honors in 2011. After graduating she began working for Sukup Manufacturing Co. in Sheffield, Iowa as corporate counsel.Schmitt is the granddaughter of founder Eugene Sukup and daughter of current president and CEO, Steve Sukup.As the only lawyer at Sukup — which employs more than 500 people — she plays a vital role providing legal counsel at all levels of the company.
- When said out loud, what does preventative maintenance mean to you?
- In your role, why is it important to be thinking ahead?
- How far do you see yourself thinking ahead?
- Does that change depending on the situation or time of year?
- Emily Schmitt has fond memories of walking to the Sheffield, Iowa, office after school, playing good-natured pranks on staff members who felt like family.
- How did growing up around the company help you gain perspective for the role you currently have?
- Would you compare the childhood perspective you gained to that of a kid growing up on a farm?
- TELL US ABOUT THE FAMILY MEMBERS INVOLVED AT SUKUP AND HOW YOU WORK TOGETHER.
- I work with my husband on a daily basis. My two kids are known as the recycling directors. Before COVID, they would take a wagon around and fill it up with everybody’s recycling and collect some candy. My brother-in-law, my dad – oftentimes we work five days a week.
- What is the key to keeping family and work tougher but separate? We have listeners that right in wanting the solution to not being mad or resentful at a parent or a sibling involved in the farm or business.
- DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW YOU WANTED TO COME BACK TO THE COMPANY FOR YOUR CAREER?
- What would you say to our listener who is currently in school or college or working off the farm that is trying to find their fit in the family business?
- In your role as CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER AND GENERAL COUNSEL. Is this where you were able to have a real focus on the future of the company and what needs to get taken care of now for growth to happen in the future?
- In 2019 Emily was named to the business record 40 under 40. One of the main reasons what the preventative maintenance she does with the Sukup Employees.
- Giving employees purpose. Getting to know the employees further ingrains my dedication to them and the company.
- An interesting fact about Schmitt: She created a jewelry line in high school, Gems by Em. She is using jewelry to help residents of Haiti.
- What do you do to tackle the tasks each day knowing that each day will be different?
- What is your key to prioritizing?
- How does this help with stress and your mental health?
- How do you get things done quickly when relying on other people?
- Do you have any tricks that have helped you become better at thinking further ahead?
- What do you think about the phrase “Don’t assume you know what others need”
- Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback or insight
- The business world is a highly unpredictable and stressful environment. It's all up to specific individuals and their ability to learn and reach their goals despite the uncertainty around them.
Anything else you’d like to share with our listeners?
What do you enjoy most about working with and for farmers?
Summary & Challenge