Guest Blogger: Alex Tolbert, Angus Regional Manager

Today on the blog we welcome Alex Tolbert, the newest addition to the American Angus Association staff. Alex serves as the Regional Manager for Region 3: Ohio, Kentucky & Tennessee.

Alex is no stranger to the livestock industry and we’re so glad he agreed to guest blog for us! If you have any questions for Alex, don’t be shy, say hello! If you’re an Angus breeder in his region, email him or give him a call (706) 338-8733 with any questions regarding your herd or upcoming sales.

1. Please share a little bit of your background in the livestock industry.
I was born a 3rd generation Angus enthusiast, in a small rural town about 15 minutes north of Athens, GA.  My earliest memories are at the barn with my Daddy and Granddaddy working with my brothers show heifers.  It didn?t take many years of playing basketball and baseball to figure out I was NOT going to be a major leaguer, so when I was old enough I started showing hogs.  My first cattle show was in 1997 at the National Junior Angus Show in Perry, GA.  Growing older I became very active in FFA and junior livestock programs in Georgia.  It was through the FFA that I traveled to Denver, CO to the National Western, where I met Marsha Douglas and eventually Jary.  I judged at NEO and then transferred to Oklahoma State and marked cards for Mark Johnson.  After college I went to work with USDA Livestock and Grain Market News, where I grew a working knowledge of commercial livestock markets.
2. Why did you want work for the Angus Association?

I can remember my Daddy telling me years ago ?Son, I never went to work a day in my life?I loved what I did every day?do something you love? .  What do I love?  Riding through the pasture and looking at cattle, making breeding decisions and helping people.  Regional Manager for the Angus Association? can you write a better job description for me?

A second reason is the Angus cow? she blows my mind every day.  No matter what new fad we try to chase, she is constant.

3. What all does your job as a regional manager include?
In week number 4 on the job, I?m still trying to answer that one myself.  Our job is to work for the producer and help him improve his herd and his business:  sometimes that may include twisting a tail in the showring and checking tattoos; other times its creating a marketing and advertising plan and taking bids at sale.  The job description is pretty open.  The other side of our job is one that I enjoy and that?s working with, developing and encouraging our Juniors. 

4. How do you help producers prepare for sales at their farm/ranch?
That?s a hard one for me to answer just yet, but I will gladly tell you the little bit I know.  The first part is helping to answer questions, the who, what, where, why and when of selling cattle, whether its bulls, females or helping market commercial cattle.  Next is identifying a target audience and developing a marketing plan and advertising scheme that will reach the target audience- largely through ads in the Angus Journal and state Cattlemen?s publications. Finally, we help by trying to connect the dots; putting people with similar breeding programs together and encouraging business.

5. What is your favorite part of the process?
My favorite part of the process is connecting the dots.   

6. At a show, where can we find you?
That depends on the show.  If it?s an Angus show, more than likely you will find me in the ring, doing the best I can to organize the chaos.  If it?s any other show, you can find me ringside or in the stands, I love to study cattle and pedigrees ? looking for what works and what doesn?t. 

7. What advice do you have for someone interested in becoming a field man for a breed association?

Work hard, tell the truth, smile and be yourself. 
Like anything in life, the more folks you know and meet, the more folks you have in your corner.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in all things consider others better than yourself.  It?s easy to say, but hard to put into practice.  

8. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of the job so far has been working with Juniors and the National Junior Angus Show in Indianapolis, Indiana; working with them, encouraging them and cutting up with them.  

9. Who is your role model?
My role model will always be my Daddy.  A selfless man who would gladly give you the shirt off his back and always hung around until all the work was done.  He always helped even when the need was something no one wanted to do.  Never a main attraction in the spotlight, but someone everyone knew and knew him for his smile, optimism and encouragement.  Philippians 2:3?.he didn?t say it, he lived it.   

10. If you could go back to your junior exhibitor days and tell yourself one thing ? what would it be?
Cherish the time at the barn with your friends and family and listen when they speak, they won?t be here forever. 

11. Anything else you think our readers would appreciate?
If you see me at a show or sale and introduce yourself.  If you?ve met me before and I don?t speak, its probably because you look busy or, I can?t remember your name, so help me out.  If I can help you in any way please feel free to contact me anytime.  Buy Angus, the RIGHT one will improve anybody?s herd.

Thanks again to Alex for sharing a little bit about his job and his background. We at Focus look forward to working with you more through your position with the American Angus Association.