An $11 million facility rooted in Nebraska agriculture makes its debut. For Aurora Cooperative, it's also a chance to grow the next generation of farm leaders.
"The vision of this company is to be around for the next generation," CEO George Hohwieler explained at the grand opening for a new corporate office.
An organization that dates back more than a century looks to its next hundred years.
Hohwieler said, "It's built for 80–100 years. There's going to be a lot of people that will be young people that will someday serve in this building."
Reaching the next generation isn't just talk for Aurora Cooperative. They're literally next door to the retreat center young farm leaders in FFA use.
Hohwieler said, "There are so many synergies we can use with The Leadership Center. It's a good day."
The $8 million building resembles a barn, complete with a loft. There's no hay, but offices.
And it's built with a view to remind employees who they work for, overlooking corn fields.
"There's something special about every employee every morning having to drive by a production field that they help produce on behalf of the American farmer," Hohwieler said.
It replaces a small building where closets had been turned into offices, not a building built for an organization that does a billion dollars in sales.
Board Chair Bill Schuster has seen huge growth in the last decade.
He said, "We were little under $200 million in sales, last year we finished at $1.1 billion in sales. Over a 10, 11 year period that's about five times the sales. That's huge growth in a short period of time."
Hohwieler, the CEO, says the building is a stamp of approval for his board's vision to build something for the next generation.
He said, "It just seemed meant to be, the building just fit in the footprint it's sitting on right now."
They're working to develop curriculum that can connect kids with the co–op staff and also set up internships.
Construction cost $8 million plus $2 million to develop the site, along with another million for the IT needs and fixtures.