North Iowa Cooperative welcomes Amy Fisher as its new controller.
For Fisher, this is a homecoming in a couple of ways.
“I started out in the cooperative system, working as a grain accountant at Tama- Benton Cooperative, which covered Dysart, Vinton and Clutier,” she explains. “I spent nine years there and learned the ins-and-outs of the cooperative system.”
After the controller of that cooperative retired, Fisher was offered the position.
Following her experience in the controller role, the opportunity to join the corporate world, working for a software company called Oakland, which provides financial services for businesses and cooperatives including North Iowa Cooperative, provided a new set of experiences in the switch from cooperative to corporate culture.
“In the cooperative system, the member/customers are the owners and they take pride in that,” she explains. “At a co-op, you know the member’s names. It’s friendlier and warmer, I think. You don’t always get the same opportunity for interaction with customers when you’re working for a corporation.”
As luck would have it, a couple of years ago, Land O’Lakes reached out to Fisher with an opportunity to return to the cooperative system, as controller at Heartland Cooperative in Owen, Wisc.
“It was certainly a different operation there than Tama- Benton,” she says. “A much bigger cooperative with different processes and procedures than I had experienced before.”
But after just a year and a half, Heartland merged with an even bigger cooperative and became River Valley. This meant there was no need for two controllers.
“I’m so lucky,” she says. “The people at Oakland had heard that North Iowa Cooperative was looking for a controller and asked if it was OK to send my information to Chuck.
“I was very impressed when I saw the board had just completed a 10-year plan and was looking toward the future,” she says. “North Iowa is a smaller cooperative that operates with the efficiencies of a larger one. Coming from the cooperative I worked for previously, they were three times the size and not nearly as efficient. I really like that.”
Meeting new people and learning new processes is what Fisher looks forward to the most in her new position.
“I love getting to know new people and seeing things through their eyes,” she explains. “At Tama-Benton, for nine years we did everything the way we did it. But going to a different region was eye-opening. They’d ask, ‘why do you do it that way?’ and I’d have to think, ‘why did we?’”
Fisher and her husband, Travis, have two children, daughter Dezirae, 21, a student at Coe College; and son, Sterling, still in high school.