The uncertainty of COVID-19 has changed plans for nearly everyone over the past six months, especially college students who are awaiting the fate of their upcoming academic year. Although much is still to be determined about 2020 All West Summer Intern Brian Martin’s final year at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, one thing is for sure: he is going to finish the summer strong here at All West/Select Sires! We are very thankful for our team members, our customers, and Brian himself, who have adapted quickly to change and taken proper precautions to keep everyone safe while still giving Brian a successful summer internship.
Read on to learn what Brian has to say about his experience so far!
Summer 2020 will definitely be one for my memory book, from being blessed with this amazing opportunity to be the All West/Select Sires intern, to navigating daily life in the midst of a global pandemic. I wish they weren’t occurring simultaneously, but the family of professionals at All West have been extremely helpful in creating opportunities for me to experience as many different aspects of the genetics industry as possible. When the pandemic began to impact daily life and businesses shut down, many of my college peers had their internships delayed or cancelled. I tremendously appreciate the All West team’s response; as long as I was healthy and up for the challenge, they would be more than willing to have me complete my internship.
My first experience occurred before I even reported to the Turlock, California All West office. I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the new employee training hosted by Select Sires Inc. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, this event was conducted virtually this year. Over the course of two days my general knowledge of the genetics industry grew. Specifically, I learned about the tremendous history of the impact of Select Sires Inc. on the evolution of the industry. It was enlightening to be able to hear directly from the top genetic minds in the Select Sires company, as well as the cooperative’s CEO, Mr. Dave Thorbahn.
My internship officially began in the Turlock office with a week of tasks that would orient me to the various responsibilities performed while becoming acquainted with the staff in the Central California office. Immediately, I spent a significant amount of time with Distribution Manager Rocky Moitoso in the warehouse. Through working in the warehouse, I became familiar with the semen inventory as well as other marketed products. During those days, hard work and dedication to excellence was modeled daily by the All West family. In the warehouse, I assisted in preparing the specific orders and filling the tanks for salesmen, technicians, and customers. It quickly became apparent to me that this office handles a large volume of orders efficiently because of the streamlined procedures and workflow. I appreciated working in this environment with Rocky. He was extremely helpful in enabling me to learn the system, contribute to filling orders, and serving customers in my first week.
Next, I traveled south and worked with the All West team from the Hanford, California office. During the days spent traveling around the southern end of the valley with Greg Silva and Mike Parreira, I was able to begin visiting dairy operations of varying sizes and meet some of the valued All West member families who were all extremely friendly and gracious. Some asked me questions, but all willingly answered my inquiries about their dairy operations. All West veteran sales representative, Greg Silva, introduced the Select Mating Service (SMS) program to me. It was an impressive process to experience from assessing the cows to inputting the information and then reviewing the computer analysis to select the optimal matings. While shadowing Mike Parreira, efficiency is the word that comes to mind to describe how he managed his schedule, while performing routine heat detection and insemination during each herd visit. One other thing that stuck out to me is that All West truly functions as a family. It was evident that Mike was viewed as an integral component of each dairy operation.
Another week provided a brand new set of experiences when I returned to the Turlock office and was able to participate in the allocation process. After the two days of allocating semen with Rocky in the warehouse, I rode along with both Brian Nelson and Jake Van Vliet. We visited some industry-leading dairies with modern and efficient operational designs. One dairy that I found extremely interesting was the Jones Dairy in Stevinson, which had four robotic milking machines (De Laval VMS automatic milking system)! I would like to thank them for allowing me the opportunity to examine the equipment, as well as answering all of my questions about this industry technology. As my time working alongside each of these All West team member’s progresses, I am gaining practical knowledge and experiences in reproductive management, herd development, and the technology used to remain at the forefront of dairy genetics.
Back in the south valley, Angie Kennedy, Director of Dairy Programs, and Carson Hillberg facilitated my first experience with the All West Optimal Genetic Pathways (OGP) program. Designing a specific plan for each dairy to find the right combination of sexed, conventional, or beef semen to achieve the specific herd and production goals was an interesting experience. Central California District Manager, Cris Hatch, allowed me to shadow him for a couple of days. While working with Cris, the Select Reproductive Solutions (SRS) program was utilized and I immediately thought of the Dairy Challenge competition that I participated in at Cal Poly. As Mr. Hatch facilitated the process, I broadened my understanding of potential solutions available when reproductive issues arise within a herd.
Wow! I cannot believe I am already halfway through my internship. I want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU. The warm reception I have received from everyone here at the All West family has been amazing. I look forward to the next several weeks and continuing to “Learn by Doing”!