Profile Rough Draft

December 4th, 2016

While on the way to Mapelton, IA to judge an FFA Radio competition, Chris Benson’s mind was focused on multiple other tasks. Immediately after departing the college, the trip was briefly delayed by a stop at the post office. Once the trip resumed, Benson’s cell phone rang and he answered abruptly . The remainder of the short trip was a juggling act between phone conversations and making small talk with his passenger. His left hand rested comfortably on the steering wheel of his crew cab pickup, while his right clutched his cell phone. Benson was oblivious to how his cell phone had become an added appendage.

1994 Morningside College graduate Chris Benson has always been passionate about working in the agriculture industry. He is also fond of a busy lifestyle. With his degree in Livestock Marketing he started off his post college life at the Dakota City, NE Tyson beef plant. A year later, he got into Pork Sales and became a Telephone Sales Representative (TSR) at Corporate in Dakota Dunes, SD.

“I spent a good majority of the time of the first ten years at Tyson on the phone selling pork and beef. I like the fast pace of the meat industry,” commented Benson.

During that time period, Benson had many different titles and responsibilities. He was the Sales Manager for pork bellies and was then promoted to Director of Pork Sales and Pricing. Eventually, he moved up in the ranks to be the VP of that department.

Benson really enjoyed working as the VP for Pork Sales and Pricing. “It was a great challenge,” explained Benson. He liked how there was something new each day and that the markets were always changing.

Benson got moved away from his niche and into foreign territory. He transitioned into being the VP of Business Development, where he was in charge of new product development. Benson described that the pace was different and admitted that that area was not his forte.

This change of pace changed even more than Benson had originally intended. The opportunity to work at the Tyson Headquarters  in Springdale, AR came up. With a leap of faith, Benson accepted the new challenge. The Northwest Iowa boy moved with his young family down South. For three years, his main focus at work was to develop and manage a new division in the Foodservice Group.

By the downward glance and shake of his head, one could easily tell that Arkansas was not all it was cut out to be. Everything was different. The job. Pace. Lifestyle. His fire was burned out.  He decided that the upper Midwest was the best place for him and his family. Benson returned to Dakota Dunes with the same role, only in the Fresh Meats department.

When Benson came back, he had to adjust back into another lifestyle.

“That was in 2009 and I was really checked out of my career at that point.  I was searching for a change. I had a good friend tell me ‘if you are thinking of making a change, don’t let go of the vine you’re on until you have one in reach.’  I think that is great advice for anyone out there that might be burned out or ready to quit.”

 After spending twenty years with Tyson, Benson found the change he was looking for. However, this time it was in familiar territory. In 2014 Benson came back to Morningside. Not as a student, but as a faculty member.

Chris Benson is currently the Director of the Applied Agricultural and Food Studies Department. The Ag department was just recently added back into the school’s curriculum. Benson’s role is to build industry relationships and manage the externship program. He also teaches some classes as well. One of them being a markets class.

Instead of selling pork bellies, he is now selling the Morningside Ag program and why people should hire its students.

“I like that I’m still being very busy. Sometimes too busy,” admitted Benson. He is still in constant communication by spending lots of time on the phone. Benson also likes how this job allows him to spend more time outside of the office.

Once again Benson has found his niche. He found it right back where he had started. At Morningside College.

8 Responses to “Profile Rough Draft”

  1. Jenni Beaver on December 5, 2016 9:53 am

    I don’t know Chris Benson, so this was my first interaction with him. I loved how you walked me through his life and up to the present. My favorite line is your closing! It sums everything up and wraps it in a nice neat little package (with a bow!).

  2. Diane on December 5, 2016 10:02 am

    I have to agree with Jenni, I really like how you start at Morningside and walk through his life and then it comes full circle back to Morningside.

    I like the quote about the job: “if you are thinking of making a change, don’t let go of the vine you’re on until you have one in reach.”

    I wish someone gave me this advice before I just decided to up and quit my jobs.

    My only suggestion is,his family, although not a main point, it just feels thrown in there. Also from the first paragraph i felt like there was going to be a delay in his life and that you were going to talk about technology.

    Either way, i really liked this story, but those are just my ideas.

  3. Marti on December 5, 2016 10:04 am

    I really like the ending. I didn’t know this person either, but I really feel like I have gotten to know him a little bit based on what you have to say.

  4. Jaden on December 5, 2016 10:04 am

    Interesting person. His life is interesting, but possibly finding something particularly interesting to go into detail with might help to story. This would move away from just giving a recap of his career and make it more relatable for someone not in the ag industry.

  5. fuglsang on December 6, 2016 1:42 pm

    I think Jaden is on to something. Maybe more detail about what he does at Morningside, since this job seems to be the end of his search.

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