This Is My Story: Denise Hockaday
June 10, 2020
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Denise Hockaday has been passionate about Agriculture since the day she was born. But she comes by it naturally. “I grew up on a dairy farm in Southwestern Ontario….Milked cows, fed cows, did some work in the field, all that fun stuff” But after graduating with a degree in agriculture from the University of Guelph, she left the farm, but she didn’t leave ag, taking a job at Monsanto as a summer student doing field trials for YieldGard Rootworm, which was a new, game changing insect protection trait in corn.
These days, while the title may have changed it’s still her passion for all things ag and technology that keep her busy. As the Climate Business Director for The Climate Corporation Canada, she’s responsible for the entire national business. From commercial sales to operations, to making sure the product that’s being developed by the science teams feature the tools Canadian farmers want and need to maximize the efficiency of their operation, Denise has a hand in it all.
It’s that combination of technology and innovation that has always motivated Denise. “I guess you could say I’ve always been kind of technology-driven. I’m one of those weird generation kids that both wrote code on a MS Dos system to run a computer program when computers first came out, to the person that had the 5 and a ¼ disk, to the 3 ½ in floppy disk, to the CD, to the USB to the cloud. There’s not very many of us that have gone through that.”
And according to Denise, there’s even more innovation on the horizon “The thing that excites me – what farmers are telling us is ‘I want to report on this data, I want to analyze it more. I want to dissect it to help me make better decisions for my operation.’ I see Climate FieldView being the tool that becomes even more integrated on the farm, delivering even more insights and more predictability for farmers, while giving them the ability to take advantage of the information that they’ve collected to run an even more efficient and profitable operation.”
It’s that kind of next level thinking that gets Denise up in the morning looking to make the lives of users even better. “What has always driven me in everything that I’ve done in any of my roles is the feedback from customers about what they’re looking for from me beyond my role at Climate FieldView. I’ve had farmers say ‘Denise, I’m relying on you to represent and advocate for me as a farmer here in Canada’ And so those are deep, heavy words coming from a customer. That’s what drives me.”
And while Climate FieldView is a company firmly rooted in technology, Denise believes it’s the people who make it so special….and productive. “I tend to hire people based on attitude….If you have the attitude that you want to learn, I’m happy to teach you….So by nature that means that we have a lot of people on the team that are always curious to learn, have no problem adapting to change because we pivot all the time, and are always looking to push the envelope in everything they do.”
When Denise isn’t thinking of ways to help Canadian farmers improve the way they run their farms, you can find her spending time with her husband of 15 years, or playing taxi driver to the rink or gymnastics with their children. Throw in the odd word puzzle or Soduku and that doesn’t leave her with much free time. But then again, she wouldn’t have it any other way.