We interviewed Matt Wolters, a founding partner of SureFire Ag Systems to learn what it takes to be an agricultural entrepreneur.
1. What is your job?
I am the one of the founding partners of SureFire Ag Systems in Atwood, KS. I have a variety of roles from direct sales, marketing and advertising to product development and management.
2. What do you get to do day to day in your job?
Daily I get to work with customers to implement our products in their farming operations. As product manager for our QuickDraw product line, I work to develop our reseller network to grow product sales. This involves training dealer personnel, making sales calls, and training new end users on how to use the product. Lastly in this role, I also listen for additional features customers would like in the future to guide new product development.
3. What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy working in all different types of agriculture. It is really fun to learn about different crops and production systems. In many ways they are unique and I enjoy learning how our products can fit and benefit farmers across the country.
4. What made you interested in your career?
From the time I was in high school I knew I wanted to work in agriculture. Although it is a singular industry, the depth and breadth of what makes it “go-round” is amazing. There is always something new to learn and a new challenge to solve.
5. What different skills do you need to be successful?
Problem Solving and communication. Every day we are presented with scenarios that we don’t know the answer to. We have to first communicate in a way that allows us to fully understand what is happening. Then solve the problem.
6. What kind of classes should students take if they are interested in your field?
A variety. In the era of specialization, this is probably an a-typical answer, but I believe it is important to be well-rounded. In my daily work being able to communicate via written communication, solving a math problem, and understanding the science of growing corn are all equally important. There is certainly a time to specialize and pursue a specific degree or trade skill, however having a variety of experiences will enhance the value you are able to bring to your given field.
7. When you were younger and someone asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, what did you say? And would younger you be happy with where you ended up?
I knew I wanted to be my own boss. I always thought that would be as a farmer. As things worked out after college, we ended up starting an ag equipment company. Yes, I think the young me would be happy.
Matt Wolters is a founding partner of SureFire Ag Systems in Atwood, KS. He and his partners grew up in rural western Kansas and returned home after college to build a business that employees 50 people and works with farms in every US state and countries worldwide.