How does a determined college kid studying for a career in music end up receiving the highest leadership award a cattle genetics company bestows? The story takes a lifetime to unfold for Mike Denton, who recently received the Kevin Boyle Leadership Award from GENEX, and the same ambitious spirit of that young man remains!
The year was 1974 and a young Mike Denton was following his passion for music on scholarship at McLennan Community College, where he joined a jazz band. However, a love for music wasn’t enough when he had the opportunity to return home to his roots on the family dairy farm.
Dairy farming is where Mike remained for over 20 years. Then in 1998, he became the first full-time GENEX employee residing in Texas. While his job title has changed several times during the past 21 years, with it currently being Territory Sales Manager, his position description has stayed the same and so has his passion for working with cows and people.
Mike worked closely with Kevin Boyle and says, “Kevin instilled in me that members and customers always come first.” Mike has taken that to heart and works tirelessly to serve the individual needs of each farm in his large territory. The massive size of Mike’s sales area, encompassing central and eastern Texas as well as central Oklahoma, does create a challenge, but he has developed solutions and works with multiple communications channels to make sure he is staying in contact with his customers.
Dave Goedken, VP U.S. Sales and Service, GENEX presents the 2019 Kevin Boyle Leadership Award to Mike Denton.
While bringing knowledge and solutions to customers is his job, Mike says, “If I had been in this position before farming, I would have been a much better farmer. I bring insight to dairy farmers, but they provide me with so much more.”
Mike is willing to assist dairy farmers even if they don’t reside in his area. Several years ago, he was a part of an assessment team sent to the Dominican Republic to research dairy market conditions and needs. His work set the stage for an ongoing USDA project that GENEX is a partner in. The project works with farmers to improve genetics and farm efficiency.
Dave Goedken, Vice President of U.S. Sales and Service sums up Mikes service to GENEX well. “Mike is the ultimate team player with a servant’s heart, who has earned the respect of customers, fellow GENEX employees and the dairy Industry. His dedication to his customers and to GENEX is second to none.”
Steve Trantham, recently retired AVP of Regional Production Services from GENEX, was awarded the 2019 Service to the Industry Award at this month’s Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Conference in Tennessee. This award recognizes outstanding contributions by individuals working in the artificial insemination (A.I.) industry towards the application or increased use of A.I. and estrous synchronization by beef producers.
Boyd Dingus from Estrotect (L) and Dr. Sandy Johnson from Kansas State University (R) present Steve (center) with his award on behalf of the selection committee.
During Steve’s tenure with GENEX he not only served as manager of the production center in Strafford, Missouri, he also consulted for other GENEX facilities in Montana, South Dakota, Louisiana and Alabama, ensuring each location produced the highest quality semen possible.
Throughout Steve’s career one of his greatest passions was to develop the next generation of bull stud employees. Over the course of his career, Steve hired over 50 University of Missouri students to work part-time at the Strafford collection facility. These students received a lifetime of experience from Steve in bull management, semen collection, processing and exporting semen. Several of these students have gone on to full-time careers in the beef industry or back to their own family ranches with improved knowledge of how to better their A.I. programs.
Working at a custom collection facility, Steve had many opportunities to work directly with ranchers on understanding A.I., the importance of semen handling and tight alignment to protocols. In a letter of recommendation to the award committee, one rancher who had worked with Steve for over 40 years described him this way, “In a word, integrity best describes the performance and professionalism of Steve.”
In recent years, Steve spearheaded efforts at the GENEX custom collection facilities to meet new inspection requirements developed by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Certified Semen Services. The written response, authored by Steve, has been used as a guideline in training workshops for APHIS veterinarians that endorse semen or embryo export papers.
Steve made many incredible contributions to beef A.I. over the course of his career. We congratulate him and wish him the best in his retirement!
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