Mike Speaker – Territory Sales Manager —
Mike Speaker worked on his grandfather’s hog farm when he was 12 years old, riding his bike a half-mile to help tend to the 100 Hampshires that they were raising in Southern Indiana. Today Speaker lives on that same property, in his grandparents’ old farm house, which has been in the family for 100 years.
“I worked for a dollar an hour back then,” he says, adding that he and his sister also raised show pigs growing up. “When I turned 16 and could drive to work, my grandpa gave me a raise to two dollars an hour because gas was expensive.”
Speaker went on to graduate from Purdue University with dual degrees in food science and ag sales and marketing. When he first went to college, he thought he wanted to major in genetic engineering, given his background working on a purebred swine farm. But he quickly learned that he “needed to be around people, not laboratories.”
Transitioning into sales raised his parents’ eyebrows, he says. He’d always been a fairly quiet kid – hardworking but not very “sales-y,” he recalls with a laugh. Apparently he was, though: Speaker was named outstanding consultant for three of the four years that he worked at his first job with a local seed company. Professional connections led him to a sales position with Kent Nutrition Group, covering the same territory where he grew up and still lives today.
“The name on the bag is why I trust Kent,” Speaker says. “The Kent family stands behind the quality and integrity of all our products. That has always been important to me.”
Speaker works with dealers and producers by recommending products to help with profitability as well as presenting market trends and forecasting to assist with short- and long-term business plans. Most recently as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has been working with producers on accessing markets, and with new customers who have started raising sheep and poultry for the first time.
No matter what their needs are, Speaker says he knows he can help – because Kent is a value-driven company that delivers on its promise.
“You know you can trust our products. Our nutrition is right, it’s number one,” he says. “But we also service our customers like family. That’s why I’ve been here 25 years and I’ve never looked back.”
Mike and his wife, Kim, have grown triplet boys and live on what they call the “Speaker Compound” in Southern Indiana, surrounded by relatives who also live nearby. They enjoy watching basketball and mixed martial arts together, cheering on the Indianapolis Colts and all Purdue sports teams, and going to church. Mike and one of his sons have 15 sows and continue to raise show pigs on their farm.