Reeling and Dealing
Rod Fesenmeyer got his first smell of the open road when he was 21 years old, driving a Winnebago for delivery from Forest City, Iowa, to Fargo, North Dakota. That trip led to more deliveries, including two to Seattle, when he pulled a Volkswagen diesel behind the Winnebagos to drive himself back home.
Rod went on to buy and operate his own semi, crisscrossing the country from California to the Carolinas and the northern and southern borders. It was a job he loved.
“I got to see the country and get paid to do it,” says Rod, who was raised in Greene, Iowa, with his sister, Shannon.
Fast forward to 2009, when Shannon and her husband, John Latham, purchased Latham Seed Co. She told Rod there was a truck driver opening, so he applied for it. He interviewed with Joy Bonin, the company’s office manager, and never mentioned the connection.
“I didn’t want anybody thinking I was hired because I was Shannon’s brother or John’s brother-in-law,” Rod recalls. “When I walk through the door, I always treat Shannon and John as my bosses, as owners of this company.”
Rod’s background in over-the-road trucking brought much needed efficiencies to Latham Seeds. His knowledge of federal motor carrier standards also brought about changes to keep drivers in compliance with ever changing rules. Rod went to auction and bought the company’s first (used) sleeper truck, which allowed him to sleep where and when he could. As Latham Seeds hired more drivers and purchased more equipment, Rod’s position evolved into logistics and fleet management. His ability to keep track of records and “wheel and deal” is what led to him becoming Latham Seeds’ purchasing manager.
“Dad always said you don’t pay sticker price for anything,” Rod says. “The easiest money you’ll ever make is dealing to save a penny.”
Rod enjoys his current role because he gets to interact with colleagues companywide. He’s usually the first person in the office every morning, which he says gives him time to get to work “behind the scenes.”
Rod and his wife Marty have four children and 12 grandkids. Since fishing has always been a favorite pastime with his family, Rod is hooked on this recipe for Crispy Fried Walleye.
Crispy Fried Walleye
- 1 to 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 pound fish fillets, cut into 1” squares
- ½ cup Shore Lunch® Original Fish Breading/Batter Mix
- ½ cup saltine cracker crumbs
- Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooking oil
- Cut fillets into 1” pieces.
- Mix Shore Lunch with cracker crumbs, salt and pepper in 1-gallon size Ziploc® bag. Gentle shake the bag to coat the fish squares.
- Pour your favorite oil into deep Dutch oven or deep fryer; fryer should be no more than 1/3 full of oil. Heat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Fry for 2 minutes or so; fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
- Drain fish on paper towels; let stand for 1 to 2 minutes before serving.