What started as a way to implement new fertilizer application methods has grown and developed into four companies that focus on and value the employees. From our time at the Houff Corporation what resonated most with me was not the company’s ability to evolve and add new pieces that make sense but the way they care for their employees. While we sat in the conference room at the Houff Corporation and listened to Neil Houff talk about the changes and growth that the Houff Corporation has gone through, you could see and hear the pride he has not only for what his family has built but especially the pride in the employees. I know what you are thinking – of course that is what he would say to a group of people – but this was truly different. Neil and the Houff family greatly value all of their employees, top to bottom, and this became more and more evident as we walked through the facilities. Regardless of where we were, Neil knew and spoke to each and every employee by name. Stories of adding new talent to the team and watching employees grow and develop into leaders in the company were shared with the same zeal as a parent beaming with pride from a child’s accomplishment. The Houff Corporation values their employees so much that they have transitioned some of the company ownership to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). What really stood out to me was the Houff’s view on bringing family into the business. Partnership in the family business was not a birthright but something that is earned. I applaud the Houff Corporation for this and feel this is what will continue to set them apart from other businesses and ensure the longevity of the company.