Why I Chose FBN: Brandon Caudell, Software Engineer
Our ‘Why I Chose FBN®’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams, and geographies on how they got to FBN, what it’s like to work here, and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®.
When did you join FBN, what is your current role at FBN, where are you based, and what are your responsibilities?
I joined FBN as an intern in the summer of 2016. After finishing my degree at the University of Kansas, I returned the following year as a full-time software engineer. I’ve been based in San Carlos, CA for my entire tenure, and my main responsibilities are working with my team to design, build, and maintain features related to the online store.
What was your previous work experience before joining FBN?
I had held a couple of previous internships around the Kansas City area prior to joining FBN, but this is my first full-time position.
What did you first find compelling about FBN that led you to want to learn more?
The mission and vision of the company were immediately appealing to me. I grew up in rural Kansas, so being able to build software for the benefit of hard-working farmers around the country really struck a chord with me. I also felt that any company seeking to disrupt such an established industry as US agriculture had to have a deep-rooted belief in that mission, and I was proven correct.
Why did you ultimately decide to join FBN? What did this thought process look like for you?
Once my internship had demonstrated the commitment FBN has to its values, the next most important aspects were career growth and mentorship. Fresh out of college, I needed an environment full of knowledgeable, motivated, and invested people to learn from, and FBN is certainly that. The engineering team assembled here is second-to-none, both in their capabilities and in their desire to see everyone on the team flourish.
Now that you’ve joined, how would you describe FBN’s culture and what it’s like to work here?
My team at FBN prides itself on being dynamic and adaptive, which is crucial when working in such a fast-paced environment. We’ve set up an excellent team of strategy/planning roles to guide our efforts and bring the most value to farmers, but as a small company, we still have to react to developments and changes. Fires pop up, deadlines loom, and there are times when we all have to come together for the benefit of the mission. Throughout all of that, though, my team’s culture of open communication, mutual respect, and an ownership mentality creates a very positive environment for anyone to grow in their career.
What kind of impact are you and your team having on the company’s future?
The online store that I work on is a major line of business for the company. It’s why many farmers first join FBN, and creating a positive experience for them is critical in helping the company’s reach grow and the member base be satisfied. My team striving to make each experience, sale, and order fulfillment as delightful as possible for the customer has a direct effect on the future of the business, and I take immense pride in that.
How does FBN’s mission come to life in your day-to-day work? How does your work positively impact farmers?
Our online inputs store is a first-of-its-kind in the ag space. Even just the idea of a publicly-available price sheet for products was somewhat novel a few years ago when we launched, and building a fully-realized eCommerce experience around that has been utterly revolutionary. Talking with growers firsthand at events or hearing feedback from them secondhand, it’s clear that we’re creating a much better shopping experience for our customers. Our values of transparency, fairness, and efficiency really shine through in how we’re building and expanding our capability in the inputs purchasing space.
We know you have a life outside of work - what kinds of things do you do for fun?
Outside of work, I try to stay active and engaged. I do a fair bit of indoor rock climbing and hiking to stay in shape and explore the area around Northern California. At home, I dabble in amateur bartending for friends and family, and I also play video games to unwind.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone considering FBN?
I strongly encourage all candidates and new-hires to have an ownership mentality. FBN is not a place to be passive or let someone else pick up the slack. That comes with some degree of healthy chaos as we are still a comparatively-small company, but for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong desire to build something long-lasting, it’s a fantastic opportunity. I’ve been around for seven years now, and I’m even more excited to be a part of the team today than I was when I first joined.
Want to work for FBN?
Outstanding companies are built by outstanding people. The FBN team goes to work everyday to ensure farmers stay profitable while they feed the world.
Learn more about the open roles available at FBN.
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