High-energy. Mentor. Team-player. These words fit perfectly with the image Joshua Doerr had of himself as a younger professional. But he could never have guessed he would one day be the national sales manager for an innovative agricultural technology company.
“If you’d told me 10 years ago that this is what I’d be doing I would’ve laughed at you for sure,” Doerr says. “I had absolutely no agricultural background before joining TerraMax. Now I know enough to be dangerous.”
So how did a sports enthusiast with a background in restaurant management and ownership end up as the national sales manager for TerraMax? After starting a family, Doerr got into the world of sales and sales management, and frequently found himself tasked with marketing duties. “I kind of learned that by fire,” he says, “and I happen to be one of those people who loves to do it.”
When Doerr was looking for the next place he could make a difference, he posted his resume and was soon going through the interview process with TerraMax. Doerr remembers the first time he met CEO Doug Kremer and COO Tom Proepper. “Once we got through the ice-breakers, things just flowed naturally. We were very comfortable right away.”
Kremer and Proepper knew Doerr wasn’t coming from an agricultural background, which is exactly what they wanted. They were looking for someone to bring a different perspective.
Doerr’s career transition is not as strange a jump as it might sound, considering one of his greatest strengths: employing lessons learned from coaches and mentors into his daily work. “I’ve learned my most important life lessons from sports, from coaches. I’ve always wanted to be one. I had incredible coaches who taught me how to lead and manage people...”
Proepper says about Doerr, “He’s incredibly eager and driven to succeed. He’s very good at coaching and teaching, and that’s priceless.”
Kremer agrees: “Joshua has a lot of energy and puts it to use in organizing, running the day-to-day sales efforts and marketing our products.”
Doerr coaches his two young children’s sports teams. He brings that same energy into the office. “I love helping people succeed. That’s why I get up every day. I strive to improve as much as I can, through reading books or watching videos. There’s the saying ‘People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers.’ I never want to be the manager that people leave.”
Every morning, Doerr starts his day with a practice he picked up from a former mentor: walking through the office and saying good morning to everybody. “That’s helped me be the bridge that brings different areas of our company together,” he says. Doerr has a wide-open-door policy and embraces his role as someone who’s easy to talk to. “It’s not just the sales team that comes to talk to me, it’s everyone.”
After making his conversational rounds and checking in with his sales representatives to see what he can do to support them, Doerr launches into whatever the day brings. He manages the different marketing aspects of TerraMax, researches companies that he wants to approach, tracks sales, makes sure hotel rooms for the upcoming trade show are booked, and depending on the day might run off to give a presentation to a customer. “Management is a Rubik’s Cube,” Doerr laughs. “And I can’t solve a normal Rubik’s Cube!”
Doerr’s motto is “work hard, play hard.” He understands the importance of work-life balance, and when he’s not at work he prioritizes spending time with his family. The Doerr family loves to travel and spend time outside. In addition to coaching his kids’ teams, Doerr still plays baseball. “I’ll play town baseball as long as my body will let me.”
Doerr thinks back to his time before TerraMax. “In Minnesota it was a bit of a struggle to find my fit until I got to TerraMax. I wanted to make an impact, be a leader and be someone who could help my company grow.”
On a recent day, Doerr hosted a “lunch and learn” presentation where everybody took turns giving updates about what’s going on in their part of the business. He’s looking at the sales report, forecasting for next year and preparing for an upcoming farm show in Illinois and a shareholders meeting. His confident balancing act is a clear sign: He’s found his fit.