Steven Kuhlman developed a passion for chemistry early in his life. He always found the field highly interesting and knew he wanted a career in the industry. After studying chemistry in college, it seemed like a logical progression to find a lab role. That eventually led him to his current position as a quality assurance supervisor in the Omnium Division at WinField United. Steven primarily serves as a chemical tester of herbicide products used in agriculture. He plays a key role in helping feed hundreds of thousands of people.
To stay ahead of competitors in his line of work, Steven says that it’s important to keep up with the latest technology; however, competitors are not Steven’s biggest concern. “We really don’t focus much on our competitors,” said Steven. “Instead, our sights stay narrowed on our customers and being able to provide them the highest level of service, while anticipating their future needs and how we can best serve them.”
The biggest challenge that Steven faces is addressing, as a company, the best way to feed people. Crop inputs need to meet certain standards, and Steven’s job is to test crop inputs to ensure they meet EPA requirements. Phenomenex’s relationship with Steven and Omnium has helped them improve their testing methods over the years. “We've received a lot of support from Phenomenex over the years,” said Steven. “They provide exceptional chromatography columns along with technical assistance to our team any time we might be having trouble developing a method.”
If you’re not directly involved in the industry, you may not realize the obstacles involved in getting an ear of corn from farm to table. Many hands and behind-the-scenes efforts eventually help get crops to stores for safe consumption. “Most people don’t understand the work that I do, yet they rely on it every day,” said Steven. “I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that my work helps keep people healthy, safe, and well-nourished.”
Every second of every day, the world continues to grow in population. How do we feed more people with a finite amount of land available on the planet? How can we develop new technologies to grow crops in areas without fertile land? These types of questions spark discussion and brainstorms among Steven and his team on a regular basis, as they explore cutting-edge advancements that will set up future generations with quality food resources. “l think our untold story in the future will be how we feed more people in this decade than the previous,” said Steven.
Working in the agriculture industry requires patience and an understanding that rapid change doesn’t magically happen overnight. The industry has existed since the beginning of time, so advancements in technology tend to be incremental.
It may be slower-paced than the technology industry, but it’s incredibly rewarding and can open doors for you throughout your career.”
Outside of work, Steven is a semi-pro marathon and half-marathon runner who loves the thrill of races and competition. When he is not competing, Steven enjoys doing home renovation projects, spending time with his family, and, in his own words, “just enjoying having a good life.”