This past Friday, February 13th, the student fellows of CRMER had the privilege to spend a small portion of the afternoon with a hardworking and insightful man—Chris Haverkamp founder of Paragon Investments. He is a K-State alumnus with a feed science degree. As founder of Paragon Investments he has built a very successful and multi-faceted company in the investment and risk management arena. We are all thankful that he has taken time out of his demanding schedule to visit with us.
Chris Haverkamp, began the event by educating the CRMER group on his personal methods for success, including his risk management techniques. Located in Silver Lake, Kansas Paragon Investment’s is driven by the purpose to teach their customers by equipping them in the area of risk management and providing them with valued suggestions to make decisions as a business or producer.
Chris Haverkamp shared with us a little bit about himself and how he made his first trade at the age of sixteen which compelled him to pursue a career in a field that included his passion for agriculture, financing, and business. His first experience with commodities at a commission based firm largely affected the way he would pursue business in the future. Realizing his desire was to consult, Chris Haverkamp founded Paragon through the lens of what he “did not want to do.” The premise behind this was generated by the previous experiences he had been a part of in trading. He felt that commodities and futures operated with a stigma, or expressed by the analogy, “used car salesman” feel. From there, Haverkamp started Paragon by strengthening the standards of business through consulting and building personal relationship that would prove his desire was to genuinely be a friend to his customers. As a company, they operate to do all the record keeping for a business, equip them with tools of the market, and strive to help customers become good investors.
A couple of the most compelling lessons Haverkamp stressed to the CRMER students was the importance of hard work, doing the right thing for his customers, and maintaining good ethics within his business. If one is to be successful, he stated, “you must set customers expectation right the first time…if not it will be futile to your success.” He emphasized the importance of focusing on the customer’s wellbeing instead of being solely driven by profit, and in turn, he has found that a company’s success will follow.
As the afternoon wrapped up, we ended with several intriguing question as Chris shared with us his management strategies as he operates over many different locations. He revealed that as a business you need to prove your keeping up, utilize today’s technology, remain personally connected (through visits and handshakes), and keep everything on record to control risk within the company. This was an insightful way of thinking as CRMER students look to pursue business opportunities in the future.
Overall, our time was extremely valuable as we listened and learned about Paragon and the foundation it was created on. Thank you, Christ Haverkamp, for your willingness and generosity toward the Risk Management Center. For us Student Fellows, we are tremendously thankful for people and companies like this that give us an opportunity to learn and grow while we are still in the classroom.