Mandela Fellowship in a group photo in the Puck Manning warehouse with the Puck shield and the words Mandela Fellows Visit Puck
August 1, 2023

Mandela Fellows Visit Puck

Since 2017, Manning has been hosting the Mandela Fellows and staff from Drake University through their partnership with the U.S. Department of State. Coming from 19 different African countries, the visitors are participating in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, a flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), a State Department program. Between the ages of 25 and 35, these Fellows are accomplished and innovative leaders. Each fellow is someone who promotes a positive impact on their communities.

An Intro & A Tour

During their trip to Manning, the Mandela Fellows visited Puck Enterprises for a tour of the facilities. Eric Nelson, COO, started off the tour with a short explanation of Puck’s history and Family of Brands. The Fellows had many engaging questions about the benefits of Puck’s equipment, the need for continuous growth, and the work culture among employees. One hot topic was the move towards automation within agriculture. Specifically, how software engineers are a well-sought after resource in order to continue staying at the forefront of innovation.

Mandela Fellows getting a tour and talking to the leadership team during their trip to Puck

After the introduction from Nelson, Sales Manager, Jake Larsen and Production Manager, Nolan Pothoff led the group out to the warehouse for a tour. The Fellows saw Puck’s CNC machinery, painting station, welding sites, and assembly. Many of the Fellows had a vested interest in either agriculture or production lines for their own businesses back home. Those members took the opportunity to break away from the group and ask employees of the leadership team specific questions.

As the only rural community the Mandela Fellows visited, many had questions about life in Manning and how to retain talent in rural areas. Additionally, the Fellows had questions about the acquisition of new talent. They were also interested in how Puck supports employees to continue their education and skills for the jobs needed in order to promote within.

The Puck leadership team enjoyed having them at our Manning facility! Puck hopes to host the Fellowship again next year and chat with more young business leaders.

If you would like to schedule a tour for your group, call us at (712) 655-9200.