Sports Leads Salter Family Through Life’s Changing Seasons
While growing up in Fall Creek, Wisconsin, a change in seasons meant a change in sports for Joe Salter. This three-sport high school athlete wrestled during the winter months and played baseball from spring through summer. He spent every Friday night of the fall season on the gridiron.
Football became his passion. He played his freshman year at Mt. Scenario College. He then transferred to University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and played one year as a Blugold.
“The transition from high school to college is tough because the competition for each position is much greater,” says Joe, who played running back in high school. He started his college career playing wide receiver and finished playing defensive back.
“The camaraderie amongst the college football players and coaches is a close second to that of a hunting camp,” adds Joe, who also is an avid hunter and fisherman. “The competition in practice and level of play during games was awesome. I’ve always been very competitive, and college football help fuel that. Playing sports makes you rely on others, and that helps build rapport and respect one another.”
While Joe says the competitive edge that sports creates helps create a drive within and that transfers into sales, he didn’t grow up aspiring to a seedsman. His career path includes a few unusual turns, but his background allows him to bring a unique perspective and understanding to his position as regional sales manager for Latham Hi-Tech Seeds.
Joe originally majored in Physical Education but switched majors after he began working as a personal trainer while he was attending college. Upon graduating from college, he and a couple of buddies started a training studio and coached young athletes.
“I really liked the coaching aspect more than training, and being a coach allowed me to do both,” says Joe. After he and his high school sweetheart, Aron, married and started a family, Joe decided to take a job with a real estate division of a local construction company. That job provided health benefits and gave him the flexibility to continue coaching.
When that company downsized a few years later, Joe went another direction. His brother-in-law told him about a position in fuel sales at an ag cooperative where he was working. It was the spring rush when Joe started working at that co-op, so he ended up helping service customers.
“The hours were long. I spent most of them delivering and retrieving fertilizer spreaders and loading seed. After the spring rush, the Agronomy Manager offered me an Agronomy Sales position. I started with a few small accounts and enjoyed every minute of it,” says Joe. “I soon realized that seed sales was what I really wanted to do.”
Joe says he wasn’t looking for a job when he learned Latham Seeds was looking for a salesperson in Northern Wisconsin. He finds it rewarding to work for a family-owned business.
“I like that the owners of Latham Seeds and I share values. We’re committed to family and we’re vested in the community,” says Joe. “I don’t just want to sell you seed and run. I want to help you place products on your farm to help you succeed. I want to earn your trust and, in return, I want you to trust that Latham Seeds is not your average seed company. We are a FAMILY that just happens to sell great seed products!”
Days for a regional sales manager can be long, but Joe maintains his active lifestyle. He and Aron encourage their kids to enjoy outdoor activities, which include but are not limited to shed hunting, fishing, baseball, football, wrestling hiking, kayaking, skiing, biking, boating and swimming.
“The outdoors has so much to offer! It’s easy to get caught up in our busy schedules and fail to enjoy other things in our lives. We enjoy spending time as a family outdoors, so it really doesn’t feel like exercise,” says Joe.
“Exercise can be simple,” adds Joe. “Set a schedule for exercise that is manageable for your lifestyle. Stay consistent and don’t be too aggressive out of the gate. The same goes for eating healthy. Eat foods that you like and enjoy but stop after your serving. In other words, ‘Don’t eat too much’!”
It’s common for this growing family to enjoy a salad bar when they’re at home on the weekends. Kids really will eat their veggies, says Joe. The Salter family likes to set out “fun salad toppings” like strawberries, blueberries, dried cranberries, snap peas, cucumbers and tomatoes, as well as hardboiled eggs , ham and turkey for protein. Their kids have a hand in fixing their own salads.
They also look for look for creative ways to enjoy traditional foods.
“One night I wanted to make meatballs for spaghetti. I was looking through meatball recipes and a couple called for shredded cheese. When I was in the process of mixing them, one of the boys said he wanted burgers instead. I skipped the crumbs and turned them into burgers with shredded cheese and it was a hit. We also make a long burger and wrap it in bacon. That’s a hit, too.”
Grilled burgers are traditional fall tailgating fare across the Upper Midwest. Whether you’re getting ready for Friday night lights, College Game Day on Saturday or you’re eating meals in field during harvest, Joe Salter and his family are sharing a recipe that puts a creative twist on a traditional tailgating fare. Joe says grilled elk burgers are a family favorite because his kids helped create this recipe.
Grilled Cheesy Elk Burgers
1 pound of ground elk
2 cups of shredded Wisconsin cheese (They're are all good, so just pick one!)
1 Tablespoon onion salt
1 Tablespoon garlic salt
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Make burger patties any size you like.
Put on grill and enjoy.