Lee Borck will give a presentation on the pathway to entrepreneurial success

‘Beefing Up Your Future’ to be Presented at K-State April 28       

Looking to bridge the gap between agriculture and consumers, the Kansas State University student organization, Food for Thought, presents the Upson Lecture Series on Monday, April 28, at 7 p.m. This edition of the lecture series will host Kansas State University alumnus and entrepreneur Lee Borck. He will address the K-State and Manhattan communities in Frick Auditorium, located in Mosier Hall of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Borck will focus his message on challenges facing young people today and how agriculture played a role in his success as an entrepreneur. “Beefing Up Your Future” will be free and open to the public.

A 1970 graduate of K-State, Borck earned a degree in agricultural economics. He has served as president of the Kansas Livestock Association and a member of the board of directors for the K-State Foundation. Along with his heavy involvement with K-State and agriculture, he also is in such business ventures as American State Bank in Great Bend, Kan.

Through his endeavors, Borck has come to understand the importance of hard work, building strong personal relationships and maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit. This lecture will focus on being successful in these three attributes, as well as the importance of agriculture in his career. His message relates to students, faculty and community members, whether they are striving for success in future careers or determining their next business ventures.

The Upson Lecture Series honors Dan Upson, who taught at K-State’s College of Veterinary medicine for 35 years before retiring in 1994.

For more information on Food for Thought visit: www.bloggingfoodforthought.blogspot.com or http://www.facebook.com/fftgroup.


Story by: Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research & Extension News

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Student Fellows Met the CRMER’s Advisory Council

This past Friday April 4th, the risk fellows had the great and unique opportunity to meet with the Center for Risk Management Education & Research Advisory Council and University staff while they met for their board meeting. The risk fellows participated in the meeting by sharing their background, upcoming internship and summer opportunities and their diverse motivations that interested them in the center. During the discussions we had the opportunity to share our thoughts about economic risk management that we have learned about throughout the semester from our industry visits, conferences, and meetings. We also joined the Advisory Council for an informal lunch where we were able to further our discussions on our career paths and receive advice on our professional life. We learned about the importance of engagement and the motivation to never stop learning. As CRMER student fellows, we appreciated the opportunity to spend time and learn from the advisors on the board. It is always exciting to learn of the infinite opportunities of being student fellows in the center. More than ever, we are looking forward to the great experiences the CRMER is providing us.

Student fellows met the CRMER's Advisory Council on April 4th, 2014

Student fellows met the CRMER’s Advisory Council on April 4th, 2014

Posted in Mario Ortez, Shelby Hill

CRMER Students Visit Koch Industries, Inc.

On Friday, March 28, 2014, the 2014-2015 class of CRMER risk fellows traveled to Wichita to meet with executives from various businesses within Koch Industries. We began the day with an overview of the company and learned about their management techniques and plans for growth. We then jumped right in with conversation about how Koch optimizes risk, which set the stage for the rest of the day.

In the overview Dan Solomon, chief risk officer for Koch Industries, Inc., shared the ideas behind the Market Based Management concept and how it plays in to the way the company operates each of its businesses. Koch Industries, Inc. began in 1940 as Wood River Oil and Refining Co. and has since expanded into various industries including refining, chemicals, and biofuels, forest and consumer products, fertilizers, polymers and fibers, process and pollution control equipment and technologies, electronic components, commodity trading, minerals, energy, ranching, glass, and investments. They have many business locations, but have a major presence in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia, which means they must be very cognizant of managing country risk.

After learning about the scope of the company, we began learning about Koch’s risk philosophy and how they try to absorb risk profitably by looking at the risk-reward outcomes and thinking about risk differently. We discussed the concept of risk-adjusted thinking, as well as option thinking and even got to participate in some simulations that challenged our own way of thinking about risk.

We then engaged in some more specific discussions about market risk and non-market risk while enjoying lunch with the Koch team. Jeff Parke, senior director of market risk management shared how Koch absorbs a lot of market risk and tries to optimize risk by analyzing timing and pricing of purchases and sales. Steve Packebush, president of Koch Ag and Energy Solutions (KAES) shared how KAES focuses on managing non-market risks by using training and education of people to ensure that risk are minimized. We then visited with Don Weaver, Chief Risk Officer for KAES, who shared with us some methods of risk management in practice.

At the end of the day, we were able to ask additional questions and the Koch executives shared some tips on how to prepare for the workforce. As CRMER student fellows, we are very appreciative of the opportunity to learn from the Koch team. Their willingness to engage us and share their valuable knowledge gave us a new way of thinking about risk and a beneficial insight into how to utilize capabilities to optimize risk in multiple industry sectors.


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Country Risk

IMG_2620ImageCRMER student fellows and K-State faculty learn from Daniel Wagner with Country Risk Solutions

The Center for Risk Management Education and Research was pleased host Mr. Daniel Wagner on March 5, 2014 in the International Grain Program conference room. Mr. Wagner is the founder and CEO of Country Risk Solutions. He has over 25 years of experience in managing country risk and is an expert on political risk insurance. He has worked for AIG, the Asian Development Bank, GE, and the World Bank Group. His most recent book Managing Country Risk formed the foundation of the very informative workshop Mr. Wagner put on for the risk fellows and faculty.

Students and faculty had the chance to learn from Mr. Wagner about country risk, the many different aspects of country risk, and why some countries have more risk from an investor’s or business’ perspective than other countries. It soon became clear to students and faculty that there are many different factors that contribute to country risk and the fact that Mr. Wagner left no stone unturned proved the depth of his knowledge. As one risk fellow so accurately stated “Listening to Daniel Wagner talk about Country Risk Management this past Wednesday was an awesome experience. Within the first 20 minutes, I was a little overwhelmed by how much he knew, yet he could present it in a way we could easily understand. Some of the reasons I really liked listening to him were the fact that he was very unbiased, and he would relate his presentation to current events going on in the real world. For example, he talked about what is going on with Russia and Ukraine right now. He asked how we would feel if we were a Russian living in that area, and that land was once ours not that many years ago. Hearing him give this example made me realize that when there is conflict, it is important to fully understand both  sides of it. Huge thanks to Daniel for coming and talking to us, I had a great time, and hope to watch him talk again!”

The Center for Risk Management Education and Research student fellows and faculty greatly benefited from this opportunity to learn from and engage with Daniel Wagner over country risk. Mr. Wagner demonstrated and effectively communicated his knowledge and expertise in the field of country risk and political risk insurance. More information about Mr. Wagner or Country Risk Solutions can be found at countryrisksolutions.com

Thomas, Kurtis, MaryLynn, Mario

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CRMER 2014-2015 student fellows visit MetLife Agricultural Investments Central Regional Office

On Thursday, February 6, 2014, the new class of CRMER risk fellows traveled to Overland Park to meet with junior and senior staff from the Agricultural Investment division of MetLife. The day started with an overview of the company and was followed by a senior executive led panel discussion. It was a great kick off to the field visits programmed for our group.

MetLife visit Feb 2014

During the Overview, Daniel Serna, the agricultural field representative for the area of Texas and Eastern Oklahoma, and Laura Linden, a senior analyst, both at the agricultural investment division, caught our attention by putting the overall company purpose into a simple phrase, “To help other people manage their risk”. They addressed topics such as how the division manages their risk and what is the borrowing process like for their customers. An interesting facet of the company was the way they manage their relationships with customers. Good customer relations require on-site visits as well as understanding the customer’s individual character and financial position.

We received a brief background of MetLife and how the company operates. MetLife began in 1863 and has since become a global corporation. A few of the well-known services provided by MetLife include insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs. They are a major presence in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, serving over 90 million customers. The agricultural investment division serves the United States and Brazil with farm and ranch, food and agribusiness and timberland real estate loans. Each of the agricultural categories is subdivided into fields. The farm and ranch division deals with permanent crops, annual crops and livestock production. The agribusiness sector includes warehouses, biofuels and processing. Finally, timber services cover production and processing.

Students then had the unique opportunity to discuss a variety of topics with the senior panelists. A majority of the panelists have worked with MetLife for over twenty years. Each panelist shared their background and career path with MetLife. Then discussion turned to how they deal with risk in their daily activities within the company. They also shared what characteristics they look for in their potential customers and explained that they try to match the company’s purpose with the purpose of their customers. Another interesting topic the students and panelists discussed included the challenges and opportunities they foresee within agriculture in the near future. The discussion ended with an overview of the political risk associated with this type of business.

The CRMER student fellows deeply appreciate the team at MetLife’s attention and all their valuable knowledge shared during the visit. Their willingness to engage in the discussion and address our inquiries was a valuable insight into their area of business and risk management. The K-State Center for Risk Management Education and Research is looking forward to building a great relationship with MetLife.

Mario, MaryLynn, Thomas and Kurtis

Posted in Kurtis Clawson, Mario Ortez, MaryLynn Griebel, Thomas Einck

Off to a great start with the Risk Management Student Fellows!

The Student Fellows of the Center for Risk Management Education and Research at Kansas State University have kicked off their new semester by meeting Jan. 27.  In this meeting, the new Student Fellows learned about blogging, as well as what their semester holds including meeting with industry and Center stakeholders.

Stay tuned to the blog site this semester to learn what the Student Fellows are learning from our industry and University stakeholders!

Posted in Brady Rundel, Center news, Ethan Dhuyvetter, Gerald Mashange, Jason Troendle, Jonathan Higgins, Joseph Dasenbrock, Kassie Curran, Kurtis Clawson, Lacey Ward, Laura Rogers, Logan Britton, Mario Ortez, MaryLynn Griebel, Nathan Stinson, Nicholas Wineinger, Shelby Hill, Thomas Einck, William Damme-Longinaker

CattleFax CEO, Randy Blach leads discussion with CRMER students

The risk fellows recently heard from Randy Blach, CEO of CattleFax.  Mr. Blach gave an overview of the business model for CattleFax and the beef industry. 

CattleFax has evolved over its nearly 50 years of existence from a company which primarily dealt in data collection and sharing to a company focused on delivering research driven information to its members.  This has included reorganizing their group of analysts from being more general to having resident experts in specific areas.

 CattleFax works with numerous member companies spanning the entire beef industry.  Their goal is to provide information to producers from Cow/Calf operations to beef packers.  Mr. Blach stated that CattleFax’s customers are very different companies with different levels of risk tolerance.  He said that CattleFax was not in the business of advising them on a level of risk to take but of ensuring they made educated decisions that fit their goals.

Mr. Blach’s comments on the beef industry were equally insightful.  He described how increased volatility and increased capital requirements have changed the beef industry recently.  Only a certain amount of increased costs of production can be passed along to the consumer without losing large portions of market share, so the industry often leads to producers tolerating periods of negative margins.  A major driver of the future beef industry is going to be exports.  Projections show that by the year 2020, 20% of America’s beef production could be exported.



-          Garrett Lister & Jeff Cather

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