There are some people you meet that you never forget. Omar Guerrero is one of them.
A few years back, I was out at Drake Dairy writing a story on their excellent repro and milk quality. But the real story there was so much more … it was a story of leadership, entrepreneurship and the pursuit of the American dream.
That day, I sat down with Omar Guerrero and Jim Drake as they recounted their first meeting two decades prior. At the time, Jim who was looking for a milker for his 400-cow dairy. Omar was just 20 years old and had recently arrived in the Midwest from Mexico with his wife Rayna.
A translator bridged the language barrier as Jim asked Omar why he wanted to work on his dairy. His response: “To show my wife the American dream.”
Jim told him that if that’s what he truly wanted, he would help him do it.
And that’s where it all began. With a love of learning and drive to succeed, Omar began studying English. He worked alongside Jim, communicating with a pocket dictionary and drawing diagrams to learn skills like artificial insemination.
Not only did he learn the language and the daily tasks of the dairy, Omar also started reading. And he never stopped. He picked up a leadership book by John Maxwell, and that became the foundation for his own personal development, as well as the guide for sharpening his skills in developing others to reach their full potential.
Jim recognized Omar’s exceptional leadership skills. As the dairy grew to reach its present size of 3,000 cows, Jim invited Omar to become a business partner in the dairy with him and his son Brian. It was a good move for everyone.
Today, the dairy is hitting its best numbers yet. A stellar team of managers own their roles and practice the leadership lessons that Omar teaches them to create a positive culture of listening and learning. Omar has even started another business helping connect dairies in need of milkers with agriculture students from Mexico.
And Omar is living a real-life American dream.
So here’s the thought to ponder: Who is the 20-year-old kid milking cows in your parlor right now who has the potential to manage your dairy? Or even be an owner someday? And how will you give them what they need to grow?
Hear how Omar Guerrero empowers milkers to be managers at Drake Dairy on the Uplevel Dairy Podcast, hosted by Peggy Coffeen.
February 17, 2023