On Monday, June 5th, Nelson and Pade, Inc.® welcomed a temporary member to their staff, Wisconsin Senator Patrick Testin (24th District). As part of the Senator’s “On the Job with Patrick Testin” monthly series, Senator Testin donned a Nelson and Pade Aquaponics t-shirt and spent a full day working alongside our staff members.
In an effort to highlight local job opportunities and demonstrate the need for innovative technologies in sustainable agriculture and fresh food production, Senator Testin spent the day working in a variety of capacities at our facility on Montello, WI. The morning was spent in our state-of-the-art greenhouse where the daily tasks of operating an aquaponics system within a controlled environment were completed. Senator Testin, under the direction of our Manager of Grower Training and Support Tim Dobbins, netted and transported mature tilapia into our fish purge system. Greenhouse Assistant, Carolyn Hamre worked with Senator Testin harvesting and packaging a variety of our all-natural leafy greens, which they then delivered to local restaurant clients, Oyster Crackers and Rendezvous in downtown Montello. Before breaking for a team lunch, Senator Testin made sure all of the tilapia were fed. He measured out the appropriate amount of feed for each fish tank in our commercial system and fish nursery system, and discovered that you do not always stay dry when feeding!
One of the benefits Nelson and Pade, Inc.® offers their employees is Team events and lunches. To celebrate our ‘new employee’, we hosted a Team Lunch, complete with freshly harvested leafy greens (courtesy of Senator Testin’s hard work) and mouthwatering pizza from Rendezvous. During lunch, Senator Testin had the opportunity to meet UWSP interns, Colton and Lucy, and learn about the research that is going on at the UWSP Aquaponics Innovation Center on the Nelson and Pade campus.
After lunch, Senator Testin went straight to work in our office. Email replies went out with our Receptionist, Terri Grall, and a system design and production list was created with our CAD Designer, Ron Arndt and Operations Manager, Andrew DeWitt.
Each day our greenhouse staff is seeding, transplanting and harvesting, so it wasn’t long before Senator Testin was called back out to the greenhouse. The plant sites that he harvested earlier in the day needed to be filled, so transplanting was the next task at hand. We also had fish from last week’s purge that needed to be filleted, and we knew Senator Testin was the right man for the job!
Senator Testin finished his work day in our manufacturing shop with Aquaponics Technicians, Bryan Dishman, Matt O’Connell, Mike Keeran and Jon Fischer. Parts were pulled, labeled and bagged for a home food production order and tanks were drilled for an international commercial order.
We were honored to host Senator Patrick Testin at our facility once again, and it was a delight to have him join our Nelson and Pade, Inc.® Team for the day.