Ag Workers Insurance prides itself on having an internship program that is accessible to ag students. Each year students send in their resumes and are hand-picked by Adriana Clark-Hill, Executive Assistant to Marcus Hill. The internship allows students to get to work in each department and travel the great state of Texas. It is a notable experience not only for the interns but for the employees as well. Employees look forward to sharing their knowledge of the insurance industry with the interns. Plus, having them around is just a little bit more fun. The interns are always energetic and up for anything that is thrown at them, whether that is a new project or going on a trip. One intern that was up for any challenge is Lacee Hoelting.
I had the opportunity to ask Lacee a few questions about her time as an intern and learn about her current career.
Tell us a little about yourself.
- For the most part, I grew up in Lubbock, TX, and graduated from Lubbock Cooper. My dad and ag teacher pushed me to be active in FFA which is where I really got to learn about Ag Workers Insurance and all the support they give to youth programs like FFA and 4-H. After serving as Texas FFA first vice president and traveling around the state for a year, I was offered the opportunity to intern for the summer at Ag Workers. After my internship, I got my bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications from Texas Tech and my master’s in agricultural education from Texas A&M University. I also got my teaching certificate and student taught at James Madison HS, interned by Congressman Kenny Marchant in Washington DC, and received a certificate in Advanced International Affairs from the Bush School. I’m in my 12th year as director of the Bayer Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock, TX, a nonprofit history and education center, which I’m proud to say Ag Workers still supports. I graduated from the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership Program (TALL) in 2018, and I am currently serving as the president of the Lubbock Area Association of Fundraising Professionals. My husband Clay is a cottonseed production manager for Bayer CropScience and we have two beautiful little girls, Hadlee (7) and Chandler (4).
What year were you an intern at Ag Workers Insurance?
- I think it was in 2003, the summer after my freshman year of college.
How did you hear about the Ag Workers Insurance intern program?
- During my time in FFA, I had the pleasure of really getting to know Marcus Hill and Jim Pruitt, still two of my favorite human beings to this day. I think it was Marcus that approached me about the internship.
Do you keep in contact with any of the Ag Workers employees you met as an intern?
- I remember spending time in each department and remaining in contact with several, of course, Marcus and Adriana. I went on to work as a collegiate marketing rep for Ag Workers while in college at Tech, working with Brinn Runnels and Wesley Holekamp. I remember having lunch in the stockyards with Patti Beckham who worked for the Texas Land Trust (I think) at the time. She was one of the sharpest, yet kindest people I met during my internship, and I remember thinking I wanted to be like her someday. A few years ago, my husband and I and some friends rented a house on VRBO in Fort Worth for the Tech/TCU game. I got to looking at the pictures in the house and realized by total coincidence I was staying in Brinn’s house who had been my boss in the marketing department during my internship.
What was your favorite part about being an Ag Workers intern?
- You were treated with respect and given responsibility from day one. You got to spend time in every department and learned that every job and every person was important to the company and making it run well. I was also impressed at how Marcus knew everyone’s name no matter their position. Being around him taught me the importance of being genuine and taking an interest in others.
What were some of the tasks you performed?
- I stuffed mailers, helped organize and process claims, and worked some booths at different summer events. I particularly enjoyed working with the marketing staff. I remember one of the board members was retiring and I was put in charge of planning her reception from invites to ordering the food. It was a lot of responsibility, but a great learning opportunity, and a skill I still use today working for a nonprofit.
Do you remember any of the places you traveled to as an intern? If so, where?
- We stayed in Texas mainly, but I remember enjoying the Ag Teachers convention in Corpus Christi.
Do you have any funny stories or good memories from your internship?
- I remember Marcus made us read the story of Enterprise Rent-A-Car because it shows how good customer service is the key to success in business. It was an interesting book and he had us sign our name in the back after we read it. He said it would be required reading for all interns. I wonder if that book is still around.
Would you recommend this internship? If so, who would you recommend it to?
- I would recommend this internship to anyone that has a passion for agriculture or learning good business skills. The people employed there are genuine and want to see you succeed. It’s not an easy job, but you’ll be wiser and with better connections than when you started.
What were your biggest takeaways from the internship?
- Be sincere, and if you don’t know the answer, find someone who does. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I also learned that when a company is set up as a mutual where the customers have ownership/investment, the employees provide a higher level of customer service, the communication and marketing is more relationship-based than transactional.
Did what you learn, apply to your current career?
- I made some great connections I can still call on in my current role. I got a taste of event planning and following through which is vital to running a non-profit. I also learned to work for a company that you believe in.
Are you still involved in the agricultural industry?
- Yes, the museum I run focuses on agricultural history and education. I still get to work with some FFA and 4-H groups, both through my job and as a volunteer, and my husband and I have a small commercial cow/calf operation.
Where do you currently work? What is your job title? What does your job entail?
- I am the executive director of the Bayer Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock, Texas. I plan events, fundraise, work with volunteers, develop exhibits, and manage the business side of the museum. I get to work with a lot of great people that make a living in production agriculture every day and I get to promote American agriculture, it’s past, present, and future to the public.
As you can see Lacee Fraze Hoelting is a wonderful supporter of the ag community and an outstanding woman. She has come a long way since her time as an Ag Workers intern. We appreciate all of her contributions and thank her for being a part of the Ag Workers family. We look forward to having her two daughters, Hadlee and Chandler, being interns in the future!
If you or anyone you know is interested in being an Ag Workers Insurance intern, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Adriana Clark-Hill at (817) 831-9900. She will be happy to assist you and answer any questions that you may have.
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