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Agrimarketing : Canadian Agribusiness Employer Guide 08
ATYPICAL AGRICULTURAL CAREERS/continued from page 19 quality people. He also said it’s filled with excellent job opportunities. “I truly believe that the next 10 to 15 years in the agricultural industry are going to be revolutionary,” Hartley said. “There is going to be a huge opportunity for people to solve prob- lems and help growers increase pro- duction in many different career capacities.” Hartley is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at a company called Pure Sense. The company provides technology and service that allows growers to monitor and manage their water resources. The PureSense technology includes field monitoring stations that are networked to analytical soft- ware. Every 15 minutes a soil read- ing is taken and transmitted through a satellite. The soil’s information is then sent to the farmer’s computer or cell phone, and they can use it to make decisions about their water input. “We help growers efficiently use their water resources,” Hartley said. “We are their view into the soil and can tell them minute by minute what’s going on in their fields.” The idea for this type of technol- ogy originated at NASA. After 9/11, NASAscientists worked on develop- ing intelligent systems to prevent the risks of terrorism attacks on U.S. water resources. Two of the scientists working on the project applied the concept to agriculture and took the technology private, forming the foundation for PureSense. The Pure Sense vision is to revolutionize agriculture with a new competitive advantage — the efficient use of water for optimum crop performance. Pure Sense also provides the his- tology of everything that was put into the soil the last week, month or even year, and analyzes the effect it had upon the soil. In the future Hart- ley said Pure Sense will be monitor- ing more than just water. “We hope to be the one stop shop that monitors everything that goes into the ground whether it is water, chemical fertilizer or other addi- tives,” he said. The company is based in California, but Hartley said Pure Sense plans to be present in Texas, Florida, and the Midwest within the 20 next two years. Eventually, the com- pany wants to go international. Hartley said Pure Sense has a wide range of positions including sales, agronomic related services, technical support, software engineer- ing, and installation and mainte- nance. Hartley said agronomists may not think about working at a com- pany like Pure Sense, but their expertise is definitely needed. “For the agronomic support function, we are hiring people with a plant science or plant physiology background. They will look at data, interpret it, and help our growers understand it,” Hartley said. At Pure Sense, the agronomist may be working with the engineer who may be working with the tech- studied computer engineering at Fresno State and focused specifically on merging technologies. After completing college, Hart- ley worked for IBM and numerous other small software companies. Hartley said he met a Pure Sense board member at a networking event and became extremely interested in the company. “I had always searched for unique technology opportunities,” Hartley said. “Pure Sense was an opportunity to bring my computer software knowledge into agriculture.” Hartley said he always envi- sioned himself working with a tech- nology company that solved prob- lems, but never thought it would be in agriculture. “I had a clear view of how I wanted my career to go, but it’s never as simple as one thinks it will be,” Hartley said. “I had a lot of job experiences before this one, but they helped prepare me for my position at Pure Sense. It’s gratifying to be in agriculture because I always wanted to be involved in something that could make a difference.” BREAKING THE BOUNDARIES Hartley said there is rarely a straight line to get to the career that is the right fit. He said his “zigzag” career path has helped him develop as a professional. He encourages stu- dents to think beyond the typical career boundaries. “The common theme among our Pure Sense combines agriculture and technology to help growers. nical support professional. Hartley said all professionals use their knowledge to work together to offer an effective product and service to the grower. “We may not have spent our whole lives in agriculture, but we come with a new perspective and a new solution of how to solve prob- lems,” Hartley said. “Growers are very respective and receptive of what we can do for them.” Hartley didn’t grow up on a farm, but his dad worked in food processing serving as Hartley’s first connection with agriculture. He staff members at Pure Sense is that almost everyone at the company has done a variety of things,” Hartley said. “I encourage students to try things outside of their comfort zone. There will be more learning with that experience and they can apply that learning to any job.” Tobin agrees that agriculture is a good place to gain learning experi- ences, but said it also offers numer- ous opportunities to help one dis- cover their desired career direction. “Agriculture and food are so dynamic. With agriculture you can go around the world, experience the heights of technology, and meet exceptional people,” Tobin said. “Whether you participate in pro- duction agriculture, or take the non- traditional route, agriculture is a good place to be.”