February 6, 2017 by Tammy Pearson
Running a "good" business that provides "products, talent and services to the community and industry" is not enough for Dr. Daryl Olsen, a partner in AMVC, based in Audubon. Instead he strives to run a "great" business. And what is it that makes a business "great"?
A great business does everything a good business does, but it also "gives back to the industry and community it serves," said Olsen, guest speaker at the Midwest Partnership Economic Development's annual dinner meeting Thursday at the Lake Panorama National Conference Center.
AMVC began as a private veterinarian practice with eight employees and has grown to include a staff of over 550 doing business in 14 different states after expanding into swine production. The company offers nutritional services, producing 320,000 tons of feed a year, and management services, among others. It was the management services that allowed the company to "grow exponentially," said Olsen.
The company now offers management services in seven states for independent farmers, farmer cooperatives and groups of investors.
Olsen's business philosophy is "to do the right thing every day. We preach it top to bottom."
"Doing the right thing" means conducting business with integrity, passion, fairness, committment and professionalism. "These are the core values we focus on," said Olsen.
Olsen spoke about the many ways AMVC partners and staff give back to the industry and community.
Partnering with Iowa State University, AMVC launched the Swine Medicine Education Center so that students can get a real world experience.
The endeavor shows how private business and educational institutions can work together to save tax dollars, said Olsen. "Joint ventures just makes sense. We don't make a lot of money on this, but it's one way we give back," he said.
Giving back to the industry also includes serving in a variety of industry organizations and on advisory boards for related industries, such as the pharmaceutical industry. Of course, such service also allows one to "make friendships and helps the business" said Olsen.
The same holds true for giving back to the community, he said.
"If you don't give back to the community make a living in, you shouldn't be in business," said Olsen. "That community has given you so much. It gave us the opportunity to raise a family and start a business. As a business, if we don't give back, what does that make us? The community gives more than we can ever give."
AMVC's partners are involved in many aspects of the community "to make Audubon a better place tomorrow than it is today," said Olsen. Partners have served on a variety of boards, such as economic developemnt, and have been involved in community projects such as a recreation center, day care, housing development, community theater and more.
"We have a lot of cool things going on for such a small town," Olsen said of Audubon.
Partners have also established AMVC Cares, a non-profit organization set up for the charitable purposes and for improving the quality of life in the area. The group's first project was cleaning up a junk yard along a major entry route to the community. The property was purchased cleaned up and turned into a memorial park for people who have lost a young loved one, said Olsen.
Looking at the challenges faced by Audubon, Olsen cited its small population and tax base, a need for additional housing so that the local workforce can expand, and a need to expand the town's infrastructure so that additional housing can be built.
"As a community, we are in position to grow," said Olsen, adding that local businesses are growing but need housing for employees. To that end, a fund has been established to buy old houses and build new ones. Currently, $60,000 is donated per year, but Olsen said he would like to see more businesses get involved to increase that amount.
"We can't count on the government funds. We can't wait for grants. We have to do some of it on our own," he said.