• January 2019
  • A PUBLICATION OF THE SIOUX FALLS AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Five questions with Tolcha Mesele

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Tolcha Mesele is a supply planner for Smithfield Foods. He was born in Nairobi, Kenya but raised in Sioux Falls. His parents and siblings live in Sioux Falls, and he has extended family around the world. Mesele earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Grinnell College. He is an active community volunteer, serving with the Sioux Empire United Way, Conscious Youth Solutions and Lutheran Social Services. Mesele is a graduate of Leadership Sioux Falls class 29 and recently joined the Chamber's Foundation Board.

Q: What have you or your employer gained from being a Chamber member?

A: I have enjoyed the numerous professional development opportunities, an increased understanding of legislative and economic policies and building relationships with fun people who are passionate about our special city!

Q: How do you describe the Sioux Falls area to people who don't live here?

A: An empathetic, hard-working community with boundless economic opportunities and exemplary leadership. Sioux Falls has some of the kindest people I have met. From church members and co-workers to neighbors and strangers, people in Sioux Falls identify with the beliefs and experiences of others; fostering a culture in which people can coexist, regardless of dissimilar opinions. Citizens of the Sioux Falls area are also profoundly diligent individuals. Whether it is a hobby or a demanding career, people here are passionate about what they do. Finally, the economic landscape of Sioux Falls is exemplary. We have a low unemployment rate, no individual income tax and no corporate income tax. I know members of the community who lack a college degree and have no prior experience creating their own businesses. Nevertheless, the phenomenal economic environment has allowed them to succeed.

Q: How did you choose your career?

A: In the midst of the 2008 recession, I found a temporary job at Smithfield focused on SAP inventory reconciliation. As the layoffs started, I transferred to shipping and have held numerous positions in supply chain management. I did not plan on being there more than few months but I fell in love with the people, the challenging work and the many opportunities Smithfield was providing to young professionals. Plus, as a broke college student with a frightening amount of debt, having more than flying moths in my wallet was pretty awesome.

Q: What are you reading right now?

A: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki/Sharon Lechter and The Political Mind by George Lakoff. I have a plethora of interests but I especially love books about politics, psychology, neuroscience and business.

Q: What is one opportunity you see in the agriculture industry today?

A: A full embrace of the Internet of Things (IoT) will revolutionize the agricultural industry. The population continues to climb dramatically and leveraging IoT technologies will allow farms to significantly enhance productivity while simultaneously reducing waste. The future is smart farming – large fields covered with sensors monitoring everything from light, temperature, soil moisture and humidity to aerial drones that can efficiently assess crop health using geographic information system mapping.

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