How does a determined college kid studying for a career in music end up receiving the highest leadership award a cattle genetics cooperative bestows? The story takes a lifetime to unfold for Mike Denton, who recently received the Kevin Boyle Leadership Award from GENEX, and the same ambitious spirit of that young man remains!
The year was 1974 and a young Mike Denton was following his passion for music on scholarship at McLennan Community College, where he joined a jazz band. However, a love for music wasn’t enough when he had the opportunity to return home to his roots on the family dairy farm.
Dairy farming is where Mike remained for over 20 years. Then in 1998, he became the first full-time GENEX employee residing in Texas. While his job title has changed several times during the past 21 years, with it currently being Territory Sales Manager, his position description has stayed the same and so has his passion for working with cows and people.
Mike worked closely with Kevin Boyle, whom the award is named for, and says, “Kevin instilled in me that members and customers always come first.”
Mike has taken that to heart and works tirelessly to serve the individual needs of each farm in his large territory. The massive size of Mike’s sales area, encompassing central and eastern Texas as well as central Oklahoma, does create a challenge, but he has developed solutions and works with multiple communications channels to make sure he is staying in contact with his customers and co-op members.
While bringing knowledge and solutions to members is his job, Mike says, “If I had been in this position before farming, I would have been a much better farmer. I bring insight to dairy farmers, but they provide me with so much more.”
Mike is willing to assist dairy farmers even if they don’t reside in his area. Several years ago, he was a part of an assessment team sent to the Dominican Republic to research dairy market conditions and needs. His work set the stage for an ongoing USDA project that GENEX is a partner in. The project works with farmers to improve genetics and farm efficiency.
Dave Goedken, Vice President of U.S. Sales and Service, sums up Mikes service to GENEX well. “Mike is the ultimate team player with a servant’s heart, who has earned the respect of members customers, fellow GENEX employees and the dairy industry. His dedication to his customers and to GENEX is second to none.”
About the Kevin Boyle Leadership Award
The Kevin Boyle Leadership Award is presented to one GENEX dairy sales and service employee annually. The award was established in honor of Kevin Boyle, a former GENEX employee who demonstrated vision, devotion and pride for the cooperative
Recipients of the award exceed expectations in these five areas: Commitment to improving dairy reproduction and genetics, willingness to help others, ability to provide superior support services, excellence in communications, and a positive attitude.