Josh Vander Zwaag
Account Executive, Deveron Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri
Josh Vander Zwaag

Ag in the family

Both sides of his family worked on a farm, so from a young age, Josh had his eyes set on the agricultural industry. An Orange City native, he was a frequent fan at Red Raider home basketball and football games, and his family hosted foreign exchange students from the college. He describes Northwestern as “a fantastic place to grow spiritually” and credits his experiences in chapel as reasons for his spiritual well-being today.

What does your job involve?
Through soil sampling, drone imagery and advanced data insights, Deveron strives to help farmers and agronomists meet their crop management goals by identifying barriers to full yield potential. I applied for this position because I saw an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of farmers and in the ag industry. My primary role is sales, but I am also involved in operations, acquisitions, finance and human resources.

What led you to pursue an agricultural business major?
Because of my family’s farming background, I grew up wanting to be part of agriculture in some form. Northwestern’s agricultural business major addresses a lesser-known side of ag: business. Every dollar matters in agriculture, and from my experiences on my grandparents’ farms, I knew I had to learn business to be successful in the industry.

You interned with Land O’ Lakes at a local farming cooperative. How did your experiences there shape your career today?
Initially I was supposed to be a crop scout, but it quickly turned into a sales trainee position. The role provided opportunities to talk to farmers and other customers and taught me how to relate to them on a personal level.

What’s one of your favorite memories from NWC?
While studying abroad in Romania, I lived with a host family for six weeks. My host dad didn’t speak any English, so every night at suppertime, we would name everything in the room in our native language. A fork, for example, is furculita. Over time, this game turned into discussions about faith. Even though we couldn’t communicate clearly, we both understood the importance of each other’s faith in God.