Why Iowa Profile: Riley Arthur
Why Iowa? Q&A with Riley Arthur
Riley Arthur is a Marketing Representative in Precision Ag Tactical Marketing at John Deere in Urbandale, Iowa. The Minnesota native earned a degree in Agricultural Business and Economics at Iowa State University and joined Deere full time in June 2020.
Riley grew up near Owatonna, Minnesota, where his family raised club lambs for livestock shows and he was active in 4-H. He was also involved in his extended family’s row crop and hog farm businesses.
In his current role, he works in Tactical Marketing for John Deere’s Precision Ag products, focusing on the ability to better communicate to customers in a more direct way.
1. Why did you choose Iowa State?
I knew that I wanted to study agriculture, but I wasn’t sure exactly how. After meeting with a few of the Iowa State Ag Business advisors I knew ISU Ag Business was where I wanted to be. The program played directly into my interests of working for an agricultural business, and I could tell right away that the advisors cared about their students on both an academic, and personal level. This became only more evident as I entered the program, and I still keep in touch on a personal level with most of the Ag Business faculty.
Additionally, the focus on future career and job-placement the department has was enormously attractive. After all, that’s the ultimate goal out of a college education. It’s this focus that pushed me to attain my three internships during college, and ultimately landed me where I currently am with John Deere.
2. What opportunities did you have as an Iowa State student?
I had three internships during my time at Iowa State that well prepared me for a career in agriculture. I worked as an agronomy intern for Richard Armstrong Consulting in Owatonna, MN; a commodity merchandising intern for Flint Hills Resources in Ames, IA; and finally, a product marketing intern for John Deere Seeding Group in Moline, IL.
These internships provided a strong foundation by deepening my customer understanding and ability to cultivate strong business relationships. I worked directly with farmers in each role, gaining real-world perspectives to combine with my classroom experiences.
3. Why did you decide to stay in Iowa after graduation?
I’ve lived in Iowa for more than four years now, and I can say that it truly feels like home. The culture is a great fit for my personal interests and hobbies, and I have been fortunate that my professional interests have aligned with this allowing me to stay in Iowa.
Through my developmental program with John Deere, I could’ve landed in several different states, but I’m very glad I lucked out to land in Iowa initially. In the future, I’m sure I will be venturing outside the Iowa border, but with several of our key factories being in the state, I know there is always great opportunity waiting for me with John Deere here.
4. What advice would you give to someone considering attending Iowa State?
My biggest piece of advice for any college student is utilize 100% of your time. That doesn’t mean you have to spend 100% of your time studying and sleeping, but make sure to prioritize your coursework and extracurricular activities so that no doors are closed to you in the future. Be intentional with your time and make every day count.
Take advantage of the resources at Iowa State to build relationships with friends and faculty, and look for opportunities like the Ag Business Club to get involved and build your networks for the future.
5. Please give us three recommendations of things to do or places to go in Iowa.
The John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum in Waterloo brings history to life by showing how equipment and technologies have evolved over the decades at the site of the very first Deere tractor factory.
Make plans to attend the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines in August 2021. Each year, more than 1 million visitors attend the 11-day event.
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