A True Leader

April 30, 2011 01:30 AM


America is full of agricultural leaders. In Episode 7 of "Leave a Legacy TV" Farm Journal succession expert, Kevin Spafford, spends time with Paul Engler of Cactus Feeders.
Engler was born and raised in Nebraska. By the time he was thirteen he worked at a cattle sale barn. Shortly after turning thirteen he bought his first 100 head of cattle while his dad was out of town. Now he is the owner of the largest privately owned cattle feeding company in the world.
As a very successful cattleman, Engler credits his success to the legacy that his father left him.
"One of the greatest legacy’s anybody can leave is to build character, integrity, honesty and willingness to go to work and work hard," Engler says. "That’s the legacy my dad left me."
He believes in the future of agriculture and has shown support for the next generation by giving to an endowment at his Alma Matter, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The endowment is to support business-savvy students.  Engler believes that everybody deserves a chance to be successful although he doesn’t believe you can teach everyone entrepreneurship.
"I don’t think you can teach them all, but get those right students, the ones that have fire in their belly, and we’ll teach them," he says.
Engler was ahead of his time by allowing employees to gain equity in the company. All employees have an opportunity to own part of the company and he credits much of Cactus’ success to sense of ownership among the ranks.
"What you could do for me is that when you drive through that gate you come to work," Engler says. "You drive through it as an owner, and not just an employee and if you do that you not only reward me you reward yourself and you reward the whole company."
He is a true leader, past retirement age and still fighting to advocate for the cattle industry. He says to relax and not stay involved is a step toward mediocrity.
Learn more about this great leader from what his sons have to share by watching all of Episode 7.

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