It was 30 years ago that a young guy joined our advertising sales force, covering the Great Lakes Territory. My first impression was favorable — rugged good looks, nice smile, firm handshake, look you straight in the eye. His credentials were equally good — grew up on a wheat farm in Washington State, worked for The McGregor Co. driving a spray rig, then moved to Cleveland, OH, and started selling products for heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar.
He should do well, I thought. And wow, has he ever! From regional advertising manager to publisher to group publisher of the CropLife and U.S. Cotton Group — not to mention serving a term as president of one of the ag industry’s most respected organizations, the Mid America Croplife Association (MACA). His customers look at him as a friend — someone they know have their best interests at heart, both professional and personal.
But enough with the business accolades. Let’s talk about Al Strohmaier, the Al in the Meister Family.
Did you know he:
- Plays a mean guitar. Likes to host sessions in the “Silver Lounge” in his basement.
- Used to compete regularly in karoke contests? He’s a good, bordering- on-great singer, especially Elvis. So good, in fact that when he got called on stage at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN, during a MACA meeting, he blew by the band’s lead singer and Elvis impersonator, who was none too happy.
- Loves horses (has four of them), English setters (also numbering four) and is happiest puttering around the barn or riding a trail in the MetroPark?
- Loves to play jokes on fellow employees. One of his favorites is sticking out his left hand when being introduced to a new hire, his right arm stiff, hand twisted into a claw. But he’s the first to recognize a job well done, like sending congratulatory e-mails and cc’ing the whole company so achievements aren’t overlooked.
- Is a pretty good cartoonist (check out the best of IRON WORKS), loves to “doctor” covers of our magazines once they’re in print. He’s got a drawer chockfull of them, some he’s shared with the cover personalities but most just poking fun.
And most importantly, know that he’s a beloved colleague and friend who will always be our “Al in the Family.”