- Brian Studied:
- Geographical Information Systems/GIS
- Brian Now:
- ECC Sophomore
“It’s a funny story how I ended up at Ellsworth Community College,” says Brian Klein of Sanborn, Iowa. “I was looking for a college with a GPS (global positioning system) program so I googled ‘GPS College’ and Ellsworth was toward the top of the list. I looked into ECC and some other colleges, but ECC’s program has a Case IH Scout utility vehicle, and that drew me in. I love vehicles! I came to Iowa Falls, met ECC Agriculture instructor Kevin Butt, saw the Scout, looked at some class projects, and the rest is history!”
“Kevin’s a good salesman, I’ll say that!” Klein adds. “I just knew this was a hands-on kind of program that I’d enjoy. I don’t like to do research … I’d rather get my hands dirty and do some actual work.”
To say that Klein has been “driven” in both his personal and college life seems like an ironically appropriate understatement.
Now an ECC sophomore, Klein knows all about hard work. As a junior in high school, he and friend Tyler Fischer started their own swine vaccination business, B&T Vaccinating, in 2012. “We got business cards made, got out there and marketed ourselves a bit, and before long we were busier than we ever dreamed we’d be,” Klein explains. “I wrestled in high school so after class I’d go to wrestling, get home at 8 pm, and then go vaccinate pigs with Tyler until midnight. It’s a tough job that no one really wants to do, so we were busy. You’re bent at the waist catching baby pigs in 90+ degree heat, and you have to make sure you get each and every one of them. It’s really tedious, but if you have a good partner you trust and you’re both good at paying attention to details, it can be successful.
“The older guys were glad to give us money to do it for them … we got good at schmoozing and built a large customer base,” he adds with a smile.
Fischer left the business during their senior year of high school, and then Klein and new partner Michael Wolthuizen lost quite a few clients when they left home to attend Ellsworth Community College.
Klein was invited last month to tell his story in front of a crowd of ECC donors at the Ellsworth College Foundation’s annual Gala fundraiser. He has received scholarships to attend ECC, and he told the donors that for his business to raise $1,000 (the equivalent of one of his scholarships), they’d have to vaccinate 10,000 pigs. He told the donors that their scholarship gifts “help kids like me and others not as fortunate as me. They can make it possible for someone to get a college education. That’s changing lives!”
“Brian is a great example of a student who came to Ellsworth with a goal in mind and life experiences and interests that he wanted to build on,” says Kaitlyn Bartling, ECC Foundation Director. “We love introducing our friends and donors to the students at Ellsworth. Students like Brian work hard to achieve their goals. He’s an inspiration!”
Last year, within his first few days on campus as an incoming freshman, Klein talked with ECC Trustee Virginia Stockdale at the Back to School BBQ about his home and his vaccination business. “She seemed pretty impressed, and I told her that Michael and I were interested in doing fall farm work in this area. I gave her a business card, and a couple weeks later Mark Guy called and we’ve worked for him on the side at Stockdale Farms since then. I feel like I went from doing the absolutely worst job on the farm (vaccinations) to doing the absolute best!”
After graduation, Klein wants to go back to northwest Iowa and work at a co-op installing Geographical Information Systems (GIS) equipment, as well as helping with the family farm. Once his father retires, he hopes to take over the family farm operation. His current internship with the Stockdales and a second internship in the spring will prepare him well for those future plans.
Klein is the son of Marv and Mary Klein of Sanborn; he has an older sister, Tristen, and two younger brothers, Rick and Todd.
“Once I get back home I plan to spread the word about Ellsworth Community College,” Klein says enthusiastically.
The faculty and staff at ECC have no doubts that he’ll do exactly that!