If you have ever met Rich Connell, you probably have not forgotten him.  He’s a man who has a passion for life second to none, and it’s fair to say few in the ag industry have had as much positive impact on more people than Rich.  In 1999, I was blessed to join Rich Connell AGRI-SEARCH, and it was a decision that changed my life.  I’d like to impart just 10 of the phrases Rich has shared with me over the years so you will better understand why.

  1. Every day the sun comes up is a good day. One morning while working in the barn (our reconstructed office near Rich’s Seymour, IL home), I asked Rich how he always seemed to be so upbeat.  He candidly replied, “Whenever you beat cancer, the same kind and at the same age that your father didn’t, every day the sun comes up is a good day!”
  2. You can never fail if you keep picking up the phone. Rich is persistent, and he takes this one to the limits.  A good friend, Chuck Kemper, tells of sitting waiting for a flight with Rich in Mason City, Iowa decades ago.  One of the pay phones on the nearby wall kept ringing and ringing.  Rich said, “I’m going to go answer that,” and he did.  Twenty minutes later, Kemper explained, he was still on the phone!  It turned out it was someone Rich had met once previously, and they had quite the conversation.  Classic Rich!
  3. This is home to someone. Driving to a college ag career fair in 1999, we went through a sleepy little Illinois farming community that was home to maybe 200 people.  As we drove, Rich shared, “Don’t ever forget; this is home to someone.”  What he meant was, in our business within the ag industry, these little towns matter.  People have roots, farms, family members and friends they never forget and often want to return to.
  4. There is a little homing pigeon in all of us. Rich often reminded me that people have a natural desire to return to where they come from.  If they don’t, their spouse often does, and that is OK.  Just as strong roots help keep a plant healthy, strong family roots help keep a nation healthy.  This taught me in order to best understand people, get to know their roots.
  5. If they told you one thing yesterday, you better ask them again today. As a new recruiter, I got burned.  A candidate said he wouldn’t move to a certain geography.  As we worked to find opportunities where he said he wanted to go, I got a call from him.  He was going where a short time earlier he said he would not go.  I told Rich, and this phrase was the answer he gave.  Things do change, and in our world where change can be rapid, it’s still great advice today.
  6. Good opportunities seldom come at a good time. My wife and I were at a crossroads.  Our old van had conked out.  We had three young children in a small house and were in the process of purchasing a larger home.  My wife was a stay at home mom working hard to take care of our family, and I had been recruiting with Rich less than 18 months.  One morning Rich announced he was ready to sell the business and wanted to know if we were interested.  I started to explain our predicament, and without missing a beat, Rich quietly said, “Good opportunities seldom come at a good time.”  Two months later, we completed the transfer of the business, and nineteen years later, Rich is still right!
  7. We are so blessed to get to work with so many great people. Rich still shares this quote with me during our frequent chats or at trade shows.  He values relationships with people more than anything and taught me to do the same.  It truly is a great honor and blessing to get to work with the great people in the ag industry, and we can never take it for granted.
  8. Louise would be there for me. During the nearly nine years Rich cared for his beautiful wife Louise in memory care, he taught me (and many others) what humility and selfless love look like.  He rarely if ever missed a day going to visit her and made sure she was comfortable and getting the best of care.  He set an incredible example of the Christ-like love we are to share with our spouse.  When anything was ever mentioned about it, he would simply say, “If the roles were reversed, Louise would be doing the same for me.”  Thank you, Rich, for being the husband we should all strive to be.
  9. I’m going to go and find the three people I don’t know. Years ago, we were headed for a grain industry trade show, and I mentioned to Rich that he would probably know everyone there.  He promptly replied, “I’ll be looking to find the three people I don’t know!”  To me, that was an unforgettable prompt to never grow weary of meeting new people.  People are what make life interesting and fun.  You will always learn something, and you may find a new friend.
  10. Do the right things every day, and the money will always come. Rich is a man of integrity.  In 21 years of working with him, I’ve never heard one person say a negative word about him or his character.  Not once.  Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches.”  Rich has truly set a living example of the Platinum Rule’s sage advice, “Treat people the way they want to be treated.”  Thank you, Rich!