Dr. Kelly Lechtenberg discussed his early years of education in the Niobrara Valley Conference at Butte High School where he received an education very much like the students of the NTS are educated today. He mentioned that he was involved in all athletics, music, drama, speech and yearbook, etc. He did not realize at the time the intrinsic value of participation in high school activities and the benefits they would provide as he progressed through life as a student and his chosen profession. He encouraged students to be involved in activities and with students that support them in their efforts to improve and to be individuals that support others. Your friends and the people you surround yourself with will either push you up or strive to pull you down.
He shared his family background with a commitment to family, education and utilization of others to be your support when things get tough. He encouraged students to be lifelong learners as he is exploring new educational opportunities daily. He explained his educational path, which includes a Bachelor of Science and two Doctorate degrees; Veterinary Science and Anaerobic Microbiologist. He shared his success as a result of thinking outside the box, finding a passion for something you want to do, and opening and going through the doors of opportunities that are placed in front of us.
He discussed the advantages, disadvantageous and challenges of us growing up in small white, rural, Christian and conservative communities. Our communities are very supportive of our efforts but also very willing to share our faults. He challenged students to accept the reality of our global society and the need to be inclusive in everything they do in their future careers as they are truly going to be working in a global society.
He discussed several business ventures he is involved in and the need and willingness for students to take risks and survive failures. How you never know how your education and knowledge may come together as he talked about the use of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in combination when conducting animal research. The main emphasis of his business ventures are to support efforts and assure a safe and wholesome food supply for a growing population. He is also involved in some research projects that involve the use of large animal trials to provide possible solutions to human medical cures and treatments.
His advice to students on how to become successful included:
- Preparation High School, Colleges and seeking mentorship
- Utilization of family and community support
- Willingness to assume risk: Debt, Failure, Image
- Embrace opportunity (enter the open doors)
- Work very hard
- Be aware that our competition never sleeps
- Prepare for a lifetime of learning
- Surround yourself with “Positive People” … Attitude is contagious
- Know what you want to be when you grow up
- How will you serve?
- Every business is a service business
- Every transaction is a function of relationships
His final Comments:
- Understand that “it is a very small world”
- Think Globally-the entire world is our marketplace
- Be Inclusive – Be Respectful – Be Humble
- Recognize your responsibility as a Agriculturalist to those resources entrusted to your stewardship (land, animals, employees and customers of your services and products)