News - Homegrown Greenville Graduate Gives Back to Local Economy

Homegrown Greenville Graduate Gives Back to Local Economy

by Rachel Heston-Davis Homegrown Greenville Graduate Gives Back to Local Economy

Recent graduate Lincoln Siebert ’17 is an example of what can happen when a small town and a small university work together to unlock the potential of the next generation.

Raised in Greenville and educated at Greenville University, Lincoln now applies his training to the economy of the town that raised him.

“Lincoln represent[s] the collective efforts of what happens when you put G.U. and the community together,” says Michael Turley, owner of Rolling Lawns Farm, Lincoln’s new employer.

Before his graduation with a major in management last spring, Lincoln accepted the job of operations manager for a new milk processing plant that will expand the Rolling Lawns operation. Lincoln served as assistant general contractor during plant construction and will manage the plant after its completion.

The Cream of the (Student) Crop

Michael pursued Lincoln for the job of operations manager after seeing Lincoln’s Experience First team at Greenville University present the results of their semester long project with another agribusiness, Eckert’s Family Farms. Impressed by Lincoln’s professional demeanor, knowledge and skills, Michael inquired about him to VP for University Relations Suzanne Davis, who teaches in the business school and had Lincoln in class. He remembers her enthusing that “Lincoln was my top student…he just sat in the back, really quiet and unassuming, and aced the class!”

Michael approached Lincoln before other employers could snatch him up. Lincoln began work for Rolling Lawns last April, several weeks before he even had his diploma in hand.

“It is truly a blend of academic and technical skill [needed] to run a grade-A food manufacturing plant,” Michael says, adding that only “a handful of professionals” are able to do that. Lincoln demonstrates an impressive command of technical ability and smarts, plus a real-world project under his belt thanks to Experience First. 

A Big Job

Upon accepting the job, Lincoln first acted as general contractor during the construction phase of the processing plant. This included:

  • gathering contractor quotes,
  • helping design the facility,
  • assisting with construction processes like concrete work, electrical, HVAC and more.

Once the plant is complete, Lincoln’s focus will shift to processing milk. Cows produce daily and milk is perishable, so processing plants work hard year-round. Lincoln will manage plant employees and make sure Rolling Lawns continually puts out a quality product to the tune of 7,000 gallons per week.

So far, Lincoln loves his job.

“The milk industry was foreign to me before this job,” he says. “I enjoy learning new tasks and gaining knowledge, so this has been a good learning experience.”

Championing The Local Farm

In helping Rolling Lawns, Lincoln contributes to the ongoing health of Greenville’s rural community. The new milk processing endeavor is part of Rolling Lawns’ strategy to remain profitable in a changing agricultural landscape.

“The number of dairy farms in the U.S. is rapidly declining,” Michael explains. As large-scale dairy farms become the norm, small businesses can’t keep up. Michael’s solution for Rolling Lawns was to ride the wave of the farm-to-table movement. Many chefs, food critics and independent restaurants now prioritize freshness and quality of ingredients above all else. Michael saw an opportunity to position Rolling Lawns as the region’s prime source for local, fresh, high-quality milk. Such quality assurance required that Rolling Lawns handle every step of milk production including processing and bottling.

Once Rolling Lawns earns the confidence of critics and chefs in the St. Louis market, Michael hopes local retailers and coffee shops will shelve Rolling Lawns products. He hopes eventually to open a high-quality ice cream parlor delivering fresh desserts and a nostalgic experience.

Michael is grateful that he and other Greenville businesses have access to university graduates who have been shaped by a liberal arts education and immersed in Christ-centered discipleship. 

“He’s One To Watch”

Lincoln recalls many influential people and experiences at Greenville University that made him the employee he is today. Suzanne Davis’ business law class, for instance, has come in handy when dealing with construction contracts and other situations.

Jane Bell, Larry Sayler and Jack Chism all helped me grow as well,” he remembers. “Bell in marketing and being professional, Sayler in accounting and realizing that life is better with a smile on your face, and Chism with economics and realizing your time is valuable.” 

Lincoln is proud to apply these lessons to a local business. Michael Turley is proud to have hired a graduate so well-prepared to give back to his community. “He’s one to watch,” Michael promises.

When you support scholarships at Greenville University, you help attract talented students who have much to offer local communities. Thank you for giving. 

Related Stories 

Crash Course In Confidence Brought To You By Experience First

Students Exceed Expectations Putting Experience First

Satisfied Businesses Turn to GC’s “Experience First” Program Again

GC Announces “Experience First” Educational Initiative

This story was published on May 29, 2018

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