Northwest FCS Family Business Insights


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Brief Description goes here. Under Construction   Participant Bios: Michael D. Stolp  Senior Vice President, Learning, Research and Experience Senior Business Advisor    Michael’s experience with family business is grounded in his family’s third-generation farm and ranch in Sprague, Washington. With over 16 years of experience in family business consulting, Michael blends lessons learned with an appreciation for farm, ranch and agribusiness perspectives throughout the Northwest.     Michael earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from Washington State University and his master’s degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University. Prior to Northwest FCS, Michael’s professional experiences included work with Cargill and Cenex/Land O’Lakes. Today, Michael is Northwest FCS’ Senior Vice President of Learning and Development, leading Northwest FCS’ customer learning, employee learning, customer engagement research and family business resources. As a family business consultant, Michael helps businesses strengthen communication, enhance management and business planning, develop successors and transition assets.      Michael is a member of the Family Firm Institute and the American Society for Agricultural Consultants, a faculty member of The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP) and holds a Certificate in Family Business Advising. He and his wife live in Spokane with their daughter and son.    ----more----   Ben Showalter  Senior Learning Designer   Ben’s passion for working with agricultural producers grew from his involvement as a fourth-generation owner in his family’s cattle, hay and small grains operation based in Cheney, Washington. In his work with customer and employee education, Ben balances lessons learned from working with agricultural producers throughout the Northwest with a firsthand perspective as a family member, shareholder, employee and board member in the Showalter Land and Cattle enterprise.   During his 25-year career in at Northwest FCS, Ben has served in a variety of roles including Relationship Manager, Auditor, Vice President of Country Home Lending and Regional Vice President. As a lifelong learner, Ben holds a master’s degree in business administration from Eastern Washington University where he also served as an adjunct professor in the college of business. He is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Pacific Coast Banking School and the Harvard Business Kennedy School. He is one of only 2300 individuals in the country who holds the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance credential through the Association for Talent Development. Most recently he became a member of the Family Firm Institute where he continues to develop his passion for helping agricultural producers and businesses as a certified Family Business Advisor.   Ben is an avid soccer player and coach with over a decade of volunteer work with youth sports programs. He is the founder of the Laces and Logos Foundation that provides free consulting services, coaching clinics and youth leadership education for coaches and athletes in rural and underprivileged communities in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.