Tom Holt is the manager of biology research and development for BASF Ag Products. He is also the company's primary liaison with the National FFA Organization.
Tom has enjoyed a career in agriculture that has spanned five decades and two continents. Not bad for someone who doesn't come from a traditional farming background.
"I was born in Minnesota and lived there until my family moved to Lubbock, Texas, when I was 10 – a big change," Holt remembers. "I did not grow up on a farm even though I spent a couple of summers at my uncle's dairy farm in northern Minnesota."
Tom's exposure to FFA actually came through his extended family. "My interest, actually belief, in the National FFA Organization started as I saw how my nephews, Caleb and Padon Holt (Smyer, Texas FFA Chapter) were so positively influenced by their FFA experiences. When the opportunity came up to be the primary liaison for BASF Ag Products with the National FFA, I jumped at it."
Tom's professional career began in 1974 as a field b iologist. He says that finding a job in his career field was difficult-much like it is today. "After diligent/frantic searching, lead follow- ups and a couple of interviews, I landed a job with a young Swiss agricultural company getting started in the US. That company was Sandoz Ag Products, which merged its corn herbicide portfolio with BASF in 1997."
During his time with Sandoz, Tom advanced to biology regional manager. In 1994 he moved his family to Switzerland to become d irector of b iology r esearch and d evelopment for Europe. He is now based at BASF's facility in North Carolina.
Based upon his many career experiences, Tom offers valuable advice for today's college students who are considering their own career choices. He looks for many attributes when considering new hires for his company; trustworthiness, work ethic, integrity and communication skills are all very important.
"Take advantage of job fairs, various classes, and meet with other students and teachers to learn more about present and future job opportunities that match your talents and passions." He says that in order to network successfully, one has to have a sincere interest in other people. "Take advantage of helping other people, fellow students, local citizens and children so they develop a serving attitude," he says.