Gil Strader: An Inspiration for Field Excellence
“The one thing that hasn’t changed since I’ve started, and I don’t think is going to change any time soon, is that this is a people business,” Strader says. “People like to deal with people they know and trust. That’s been on my dashboard since day one at Syngenta.”
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Strader’s family is deeply rooted in agriculture and has been involved in the industry as far back as he can trace. His experience growing up on tobacco farm in the Piedmont of North Carolina was one of the reasons Strader decided to pursue a degree in agricultural economics at North Carolina State University (NCSU).
He understands the importance of ag education and wants to foster that passion in future agricultural leaders. Although he wasn’t involved in FFA growing up, Strader has seen the impact and influence the organization has on the upcoming generation of agriculturalists. He views the organization as an expert at developing leaders and building confidence.
Earlier this year, Strader had the opportunity to participate in “Technology in Agriculture: Feeding the Growing Globe Virtual Field Trip” through a resource developed by the National FFA and Discovery Education. The live-streamed video from the Syngenta Innovation Center and Advanced Crop Lab in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina, viewed by more than 50,000 students, helped foster a real-time dialogue between FFA members and Syngenta experts.
The experience was one Strader won’t soon forget. “What really invigorated me was seeing and living—for two straight days—the technology and innovation that Syngenta shows every day,” he says. “I was proud to be with the company as much as any time in my 35 years with Syngenta.”
“The one thing that hasn’t changed since I’ve started, and I don’t think is going to change any time soon, is that this is a people business. People like to deal with people they know and trust.”
It comes as no surprise to see Strader build such a strong connection with FFA, as he has centered his career at Syngenta around sales training and education. Instilling confidence and leadership has been an interest of Strader’s since his time at NCSU. It brings him joy to see young people growing both personally and professionally.
2019 will mark Straders’ 35th year working with Syngenta. And while there have been tremendous advancements in technology since he first started with the company, Strader will always see agriculture as a person-to-person industry built on meaningful relationships and interactions.
“As fast and innovative as technology is growing day-to-day, it’s never going to replace that human trust one person has in another because it is a partnership in growing and feeding a global economy. That is what’s really cool about working in this industry,” Strader says.