Abe Light Northeast Territory Manager Calf-Tel Tully, New York
What education are you bringing with you to this position?
I majored in dairy production and management at SUNY Cobleskill.
Please describe your agricultural background.
I grew up with a variety of small animals and livestock, and had my first job helping on a farm at 11 years old. I spent my teenage years working for local farms, the last of which developed my interest in registered cattle and genetics. In college, I worked at the university dairy, assisting with barn clipping and relief milking. For five years after college, I worked as a cattle fitter and assistant herdsman at two world-renowned show herds in Vermont and Connecticut. From there, I sought to gain experience in all areas of the commercial dairy environment, which I did for two years, and eventually became involved in the A.I. industry.
What territory will you cover?
The northeastern U.S., as well as Ontario and Quebec in Canada.
What are your new responsibilities?
The primary functions of the role are to help dairymen and calf raisers reach their goals of raising healthy, profitable calves. I will support our local stocking dealers and assist calf raisers with ideas to meet goals for growing calves efficiently and effectively. Additional responsibilities include being present for and participating in local industry events and educational opportunities.
What previous positions have you held?
I’ve worked as a fitter, a herdsman and assistant herdsman, involved in all areas of those operations. In 2007, I went to work as a relief technician for ABS in Vermont, and then moved to Idaho in 2008 to be the primary A.I. technician on a large herd. I transitioned from an A.I. technician to a sales rep, and a year later was offered the role of district business manager, organizing and managing the A.I. technicians and sales teams, as well as handling operations within key accounts. When my personal interests moved me back to New York in August 2013, I focused on my small business, Reflex Genetics LLC, which I continue to operate.
Who has made the biggest impact on your career?
Don and Janice Smith own the farm that got me into cows in the first place, and also informed me I would be going to college in the fall of 1998 whether I wanted to or not. Sue Brown, former manager of Lylehaven Farm, taught me that you have to stand behind your product 100 percent or not at all. Tim Abbott of St. Jacobs ABC has always given me good transitional advice and is a constant source of inspiration for all he has and continues to accomplish. Ian Hildon at ABS took me under his wing and taught me not only how a business runs, but how to pick my battles and conduct myself as a professional. These are all people who saw potential in me to take greater responsibilities and challenged me to rise up.
How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
I think that being in a position that allows me to connect local producers and growers with the Calf-Tel network to compare and share experiences is a real asset.
Why did you choose this company?
Historically, I’ve been fortunate to have the chance to work with some of the best people, cattle and products, and Calf-Tel follows suit with that standard. The combination of product integrity and strong leadership was a big factor for me.
What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
As a territory manager, the bottom line goal is to grow our business in my area. I still encounter too many places that are suffering the economic impact of inadequate housing for their calves and young stock. My goal is to work with them and identify ways to have their most important generation of cattle thriving in an ideal environment. I moved back to the Northeast because this is home for me, and I’m grateful to have a chance to work with some familiar faces as well as continue forging new relationships. PD