Scale Conference



Day 1 Agenda


Speaker: Lisa Norton

Bio: Lisa Norton, President and COO of BioZyme® Inc., takes a vision and makes it a reality through strategy development and implementation. She intuitively sees the threads of opportunity that wind through an organization, brings them together into a coherent whole, helps others extend their thinking and drive the business advantage. She has considerable expertise in marketing and strategic planning efforts, along with the ability to implement measurable progress through the development and monitoring of outcomes. Lisa’s background in accounting, business and academia, combined with a passion for people and animals, makes her a successful businesswoman leading one of the fastest-growing animal health businesses in the industry.

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Speaker: Rhett Laubach

Bio: Rhett Laubach is a professional speaker, leadership trainer, author, presentations coach and owner of YourNextSpeaker, LLC. Rhett has presented keynotes and seminars for over 25 years, in 48 states, Canada, the Bahamas and to over one-million audience members. Rhett and his family live in Edmond, Oklahoma.

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Session Description: Leaders who relate to their teams and inspire effective action are critically important to success in any field. Being authentic in nature helps you to be more relatable and those around you find it easier to trust you. This session will dive into what it means to be an authentic leader and how that is important in life and a career. You will learn how to discover your own authentic style of leading by working through the ice-burg effect of discovering your WHY and how to implement that authentic style into your everyday life and future career.

Speaker: Clay Zwilling

Bio: Clay Zwilling currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the National Swine Registry, the purebred swine association responsible for maintaining the pedigrees and recordings for the Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace and Yorkshire breed of swine, which accounts for 70% of the purebred swine in the United States. The National Swine Registry is also home to the National Junior Swine Association (NJSA), the nation’s largest junior livestock association. As the CEO, Zwilling's responsibilities range from staff and fiscal management to the planning and implementation of national shows. He works closely with the NSR Executive Committee and the Breed Association Board members to develop and administer strategic plans, goals and policies for the NSR. He represents the NSR as part of national organizations such as the National Pork Producers Council, National Pork Board, National Association of Swine Records and the National Pedigreed Livestock Council, all of which are fundamental to the success of NSR. Prior to his current role at NSR, he served as the Vice President of Operations and worked for two years as the Director of Marketplace Education and Development at Farm Credit Illinois, where he led the associations young and beginning farmer programs.

Clay was raised on a small grain and purebred livestock operation in western Illinois. He attended Lake Land College in Mattoon, Ill., and later transferred to Oklahoma State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Agricultural Education. While at OSU, Clay was on the 2012 National Champion Livestock Judging Team and was named an All-American. He also earned his Master of Science Degree in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications from Texas A&M University. Clay is a past Illinois FFA State President and an alum of the Illinois Agriculture Leadership Program. He and his wife Deanna reside in Lafayette, IN.

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Session Description: There is no one proper way to lead or be viewed as a leader. You don’t have to be a good speaker or highly successful, you just have to be yourself and play to your strengths. Before we know how we can help others, we have to discover our personal strengths and how we can make a difference. In this session you will learn how to determine your personal strengths and how those can be acted upon to find your niche to help others.

Speaker: Dr. Mark Hoge

Bio: Mark Hoge is originally from Cambridge, Illinois. He grew up with a diversified livestock background showing cattle, hogs, and sheep. This stimulated his interest in livestock judging and animal science.

Upon graduation from high school, he pursued his interest in animal science and livestock judging throughout college. He attended Black Hawk East and then the University of Illinois. While at both institutions, he was very active on the livestock judging teams. From there he decided to attend Iowa State University for his master's degree in animal breeding. While at Iowa State Mark coached the livestock judging team, advised students, and taught two classes in animal science. He found an interest in teaching and research and decided to pursue his Ph.D. in animal breeding at Michigan State, an opportunity was presented to join the staff at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois.

Mark has judged numerous state fairs, junior nationals and majors across the country within a number of species.

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Session Description: How can you lead others similar in age and seasons of life? Being a leader amongst your peers can be challenging, but it is more than just telling others what to do. In this session, Senior Board members from different breeds will share and comment on their experiences influencing others and how they work to stand out as a leader amongst their peers. They will also discuss how their leadership skills spill over to help be an advocate outside of the industry.

Speaker: Blake Nelson

Bio: Blake is the Executive Vice-President of the American Maine-Anjou Association. He grew up on a small eastern Oklahoma commercial cow-calf operation. As a junior exhibitor he showed Brangus and Chi cattle. He started his collegiate experience at Connors State College and finished at Oklahoma State University where he was a member of championship livestock judging teams and worked with both schools’ cattle operations. After graduation he had the opportunity to go back to Connors in 2000 and be an instructor and livestock judging coach. From 2005-2015 he was the Connor State College Director of Farm Operations/ Livestock Coordinator position, which involved overseeing the bull test station, 250 head cowherd, beef show team and working with the nationally competitive livestock judging team. Blake has production experience working with many breeds. Personally, Blake and his wife Ruth have been blessed with two children Paisley 13 and Brigham 9. His kids are very active in 4H and showing cattle in Missouri.

Speaker: Wyatt DeJong

Bio: Wyatt is part of the DeJong Ranch, located in south central South Dakota where he and his family raise Maine-Anjou, Angus, and Simmental seedstock. The ranch was established in 1948 where the emphasis has always been to produce quality livestock through multi-trait selection and evaluation of performance data from pasture to plate. The Family's goals continue to be built upon four pillars: (1) living out our faith through our actions, (2) investing in the youth, (3) exceeding the standard for balanced livestock in the commercial, seed stock and show ring worlds, and (4) being stewards of the land. He was very active in the American Junior Maine-Anjou Association, 4-H, and FFA as his focus was on leadership development of himself and the organizations that he was part of. He served on the board of directors for the AJMAA, was elected as the 2010-2011 National FFA Central Region Vice President, and was the 2012-2013 Vice President of the Students' Association at South Dakota State University where he graduated with a degree in agricultural education. Wyatt is the current Secretary/Treasurer on the American Maine-Anjou Board of Directors. He and his wife Zana currently reside in Ravenna, Nebraska.

Speaker: Joel Cowley

Bio: Joel Cowley serves as the president of Angus Genetics, Inc. (AGI), a subsidiary of the American Angus Association (AAA) that develops new technologies to benefit the entire beef industry and conducts genetic evaluations for AAA as well as other breed associations in the United States and Canada. Prior to joining AGI, Cowley served as the president and CEO of the Houston Livestock Show and RodeoTM, where he directed the efforts of 35,000 volunteers and 130 full time staff in conducting an event that attracted more than 2.5 million visitors and annually awarded $27 million to youth and education. His additional experience includes working in the international and foodservice divisions at Certified Angus Beef LLC, serving as an extension beef specialist at Michigan State University, and coaching the livestock judging team at Texas A&M University.

In addition to his work experience, Cowley has served on numerous boards, including the Texas FFA Foundation, Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation, University of Houston Bauer College of Business, and the Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl. He served as associate superintendent of the national collegiate livestock judging contest for 22 years and has judged cattle shows in 35 states, Canada and Brazil. He has been named a Texas A&M University Department of Animal Science Outstanding Alumni as well as a Houston Business Journal Most Admired CEO.

Cowley earned an associate of arts degree in agricultural education from Northeastern Junior College, a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in animal breeding from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Michigan State University.

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Day 2 Agenda


Session Description: We are all told we need to be one, but what does it actually mean to be an advocate for our industry and how can you be an effective one with intentional action? We answer these questions and so much more in this session.

Speaker: Blayne Arthur

Bio: On January 14, 2019, Blayne Arthur was sworn in by Governor Kevin Stitt as the Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture—the state’s first female to hold the position. She holds the titles of Oklahoma Commissioner of Agriculture and the President of the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture. Raised in Chickasha, Oklahoma, Secretary Arthur was active in 4-H and FFA through showing horses and cattle on a state and national level. Her agricultural roots run deep —Secretary Arthur’s mother worked for the USDA as a veterinary medical officer and her father owns and operates Spencer Livestock, LLC. In 2004, Secretary Arthur graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. She has held positions at Rural Enterprises, Inc. as a small-business financial officer, social media coordinator for past-Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach, Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture for immediate past-Secretary of Agriculture, Jim Reese from 2011-2016, and Executive Director for the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation from 2016-2018. Secretary Arthur has been married to Jerrod Arthur since 2006. They have two children, Kelton and Kennedy, who are both deeply rooted in agriculture and enjoy showing horses and cattle.

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Session Description: The agriculture and livestock industries face challenges every day, month and year. To thrive, it is essential that we keep our minds open to change and an innovative way of thinking to seek progress. In this session, we sit in on a panel of industry leaders who discuss challenges we face in our industry, what 2020 has presented us with and innovative ways to think outside the box to keep our individual sectors of the industry successful

Speaker: Nick Fitzsimmons

Bio: Nick Fitzsimmons grew up on a Simmental seedstock operation in Western Iowa. Growing up exhibiting cattle across the country and livestock judging sparked a passion that eventually led him to Black Hawk East College and then onto Texas Tech University. While at Texas Tech University, Nick was a member of a highly successful livestock judging team and then served as the assistant livestock judging coach. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Animal Science Degree and then took a position with Sunglo Show Feeds, a Cargill company. Nick currently serves as the cattle show feed specialist with Sunglo. In addition, Nick, along with his wife Ashley, son Lander and daughter Layne, own and operate Fitz Genetics, a multi-faceted, multi-breed cattle operation, in Perry, Okla.

Speaker: Stephanie Sindel

Bio: Stephanie spent her childhood years in Northwest Ohio raising and showing livestock. After attending Black Hawk College - East Campus, Stephanie pursued one of her passions and earned a cosmetology license. Her time listening to others while fixing their roots helped her realize it was time to get back to her own roots in agriculture. She served the Ohio Cattlemen's Association and Ohio Beef Council for ten years as the Director of Member Services and Youth Programs, during which time the BEST program grew to over 500 youth participants each year. Stephanie currently works with The Show Circuit magazine and SC Online Sales team.

Speaker: Miles Toenyes

Bio: Miles Toenyes grew up in Highland, Illinois, with a production background in small livestock, where he discovered his love for working with livestock. In his youth, Miles was running jackpot circuits every weekend and following the state fair and national show scene, which allowed him to gain a wealth of knowledge about the show ring. After completing a very successful youth show career, Miles attended Lakeland Junior College and began his livestock judging career. He then transferred to Western Illinois University (WIU). He majored in agricultural business at both schools and competed nationally on both livestock judging teams. Miles also coached WIU’s livestock judging team in addition to actively competing. Today, he can often be found standing in the middle of the ring. Miles judges many different species shows across the nation at various events, from county to national levels.

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Session Description: Leadership is always important. But in these unprecedented times, when our passion, livelihood and the future of our industry are challenged, the need for leadership on all levels takes precedence. In this session we discuss the challenges of 2020, how they have and will continue to change our industry and how we can all take on a role of leadership and advocacy for our industry both inside and outside the ring.

Speaker: Dr. Ryan Rathmann

Bio: During his academic tenure Texas Tech university the Bastrop native has always been passionate about developing successful students both in and out of the classroom. Rathmann teaches an array of classes in introductory animal science, animal breeding and genetics, management of beef production systems, artificial insemination in cattle, and multiple animal evaluation courses. In addition, Rathmann coordinates numerous judging related and leadership activities for 4-H and FFA students that serve as key recruiting tools for the college. He also serves as a professional livestock judge at livestock events both internationally and domestically. Rathmann has participated in beef cattle research focused on feedlot nutrition, carcass composition and muscle growth. One of his long-term research goals is to provide a greater understanding of the bridge between livestock selection technologies and subjective evaluation principles in order to make animal breeders and marketers more precise in their decision making. Separately, Rathmann has continued his leadership with the university's national championship livestock judging teams, serving as a coach and faculty advisor. Under Rathmann's leadership his livestock judging teams have garnered numerous national championships. Rathmann is the all-time winningest coach in the 100 plus year history of collegiate livestock judging. In addition, Rathmann has coached six national champion meat animal evaluation teams at Texas Tech. Rathmann received his bachelor's degree in animal science and master's degree in beef cattle reproduction from Texas A&M. His doctorate in ruminant nutrition is from Texas Tech.

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Session Description: Groups will be given a small prompt for discussion to digest the topics covered throughout the conference. The group will be tasked to discuss how they were inspired by the speakers’ messages and how it motivates them to take action as leaders amongst their peers and other leaders in the industry. After discussion the group must brainstorm how they can make their motivation to act a reality – how can they be ACTIONABLE advocates for the industry. Groups will create a short 5-10 minute presentation of their action plan and goals to present. Groups can select one member to present.

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Speaker: Bob Norton

Bio: Bob Norton is the CEO at BioZyme®, and he started with the organization in 2000 after a lengthy career in the meat packing industry. As CEO, Bob oversees the activities of the employee-owned company and works closely with the COO to monitor growth both domestically and internationally. He is a native to Saint Joseph, enjoys giving back to others, aviation and is active in the Veterans Airlift Command. He is passionate about the future of agriculture and has been recognized for his contributions by being inducted in the Honorary Angus Foundation. He is currently an active promoter of the National Junior Hereford Association.

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