Women in Ag: Tracing Amy Rohe’s #RootsinBoots
Amy Rohe, Sales Project Manager for Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, has roots in boots but not in the traditional way we think of in Iowa.
Amy grew up in the Upper Midwest where her family moved often for her dad’s job in agricultural sales. They lived in North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota before making Iowa their home. Amy started kindergarten in Parkersburg in Central Iowa and graduated from Batavia in southern Iowa.
Horses were one constant during Amy’s childhood. She enjoyed showing Western Pleasure, Horsemanship, Showmanship and English.
“Showing horses made moving easier because I made friends throughout the Midwest on the show circuit,” explains Amy. “Plus, working with horses teaches you great lessons like work ethic, responsibility, dedication and commitment. You also learn how present yourself.”
Now Amy enjoys sharing her love for horses with her kids. Their family enjoys camping with their horses. They take weekend trips to Brushy Creek, which is only about 20 minutes from their house in Central Iowa. Their favorite vacation spot is in Central South Dakota.
“Camping and riding horses allows our family to step away from our crazy busy lives and just spend time with each other,” says Amy. “We stay with my parents’ best friends in South Dakota. I’ve spent so much time with them over the years that I consider them family. Our boys fish in the morning. Then we ride horses throughout the day, eat lunch on the trail, and the boys end the day by fishing again! They couldn’t ask for a better day than that!”
The Dakotas hold a special place in Amy’s heart as her father grew up on a farm in North Dakota and farmed for five years in South Dakota before taking an ag sales job. He recently retired after serving 12 years as sales manager for Hagie Manufacturing, which had been family owned and celebrated its 65th anniversary the same year as Latham Hi-Tech Seeds.
It’s no wonder that Amy also desired to follow a sales career path. While studying Business Management at Iowa State University, she accepted a part-time sales job selling cellular phones. The mobile phone industry was emerging at that time, and she was selling people on the value of new technology.
Working in mobile phone sales taught Amy how to quality a customer, so she could help them choose the plan that best fit their needs. She learned how important great service is after the sale, and that’s why she says she’s chosen to work customer-centric companies throughout her career.
“Before I started at Latham, I didn’t think I could have a family and a fulfilling career,” says Amy. “I was watching Opera while on maternity leave with our oldest son. The topic of that day’s show was stay-at-home verses working moms. A panel of moms discussed the advantages and disadvantages of both. It seemed like each group was envious of the other, but the overall message was that a mom really couldn’t juggle both. What a sad message for a new mom who had ambitions of doing both!”
Amy decided to stay at home until she met an amazing women who did in home daycare. Then she and her husband felt comfortable with Amy getting a part-time job. She says she was fortunate to meet a great businessman, who understood the importance of family and was flexible with her schedule. Unfortunately, his office wasn’t a good fit logistically. Amy then decided to take a job in Latham Seeds’ Boone office, just a five-minute drive from her boys.
“Latham Seeds’ owners and managers lead by example,” says Amy. “Shannon Latham is an outstanding mom who is very active in both of her children’s lives. She also heads up our marketing department and has started two successful companies of her own. Plus, office technology allows us more flexibility and enables us to be very mobile. This ‘family first philosophy’ makes for a great work/life balance.”
One of the biggest fallacies deterring young women from pursuing challenging careers is the notion that women can’t be active in their family members’ lives and still have a successful career. Amy proves that wrong every day. Her biggest piece of advice to women pursuing careers in agriculture is: “Find a career that will enable you to do what you love. Do it and do it well. Always be coachable because you can learn something new every day.”
Without strong women to help shape and manage our company, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds would be a very different company than it is today. We understand the key roles women play in everything from purchasing seed to marketing grain, from public relations and event planning to sales and customer service. That’s why we’re celebrating women who are doing what they love. From now through November we’ll be showcasing women in agriculture by telling their #RootsinBoots stories. Follow along and be inspired by FarmHers across Iowa!