Nick Wetzel grew up on a farm in Corning, Iowa, and like many young people, he moved away from home to attend college. For him, that was Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri, where he majored in broadcasting. After graduation, jobs in broadcasting and sales took him to Grinnell and Clarinda in Iowa. Finally, ten years after he left, he and his family returned to Corning. Here’s what he had to say about his homecoming.
Why Did You Move Back to Your Hometown?
My wife, Allie, and I wanted to make it happen, so we sat down, came up with a plan, and started to execute it in 2017. At first, we built a car wash in town, and the opportunity at Farm Bureau came up around the same time. We have two kids, and we couldn’t ask for a better community to be in to raise our family. It feels safe for our kids, they’re getting a good education and they have the chance to grow up just as my wife and I did.
My wife was working as a physician’s assistant, and she left that position to join my business full-time. With Farm Bureau, we can mold and shape the impact we want to make within the community, and we have the flexibility to run our business the way we want to.
What Do You Find Most Rewarding About Working in Your Hometown?
In these small communities, it seems like you know everybody in the town. It's fun to come back and make an impact in a way they may have never experienced before. It gives purpose to my career. I can look back and say, “Wow, look at the people in my little town I was able to help.”
It also lets me be closer to my dad. My mom passed away about ten years ago, and my dad still farms. It was nice to come back and help him out. My wife and I both grew up on farms and love farming, so moving back to Corning allowed us to get close to him.
What Do You Say to People Who Worry That Small Towns Don’t Offer Economic Opportunities?
I have friends who are originally from Corning who would like to move back, but they aren’t sure how they would maintain their lifestyles. That’s what a lot of people struggle with. But I think if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you can succeed in a small town.
What’s a Typical Day Like for You?
Controlled chaos. You have to be the guy at the circus who can spin all the plates and keep them going. One hour you might be talking to someone about a home and auto quote, the next, you might be talking about a life insurance policy, and then the next, retirement. Someone might die unexpectedly, and you have to help that grieving family through the process of accessing the life insurance. That might not be fun, but it’s important.
What Do You Like Most About Your Job?
I'm a big people person. I like people, I enjoy visiting with people, and I enjoy helping people. There’s a saying—if people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you. That's what I feel I can bring to our community. People know me, so the wall wasn't as high for me to climb over as it might be for an outsider coming in.
There's nobody else in my community who can do everything that I can do. We have other agencies in town, but one might be heavy in home and auto, the next is heavy in health, and another can do wealth management and investments. They can't do everything we can do, which is health, life, home, auto, long-term care, retirement planning and investments.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of Work?
Our kids are six and eight, and we like to fish, golf and travel with them. There’s a travel incentive with this position. We’ve had opportunities to go on family trips to Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, the Gaylord Rockies Resort in Denver and Amelia Island in Florida. This year we’re going to Disneyland.
Those things are really fun, and it gives us a chance to spend time together as a family. We only have so many summers with the kids before they’re gone. We’re trying to pour as much time into them as we can while they’re young.
What Advice Would You Give to Someone Considering Returning to Their Hometown?
I would challenge anybody to take a hard look at this opportunity. Every day we have opportunities, and it’s up to us to decide whether to go out and grab them. Why not do something you love and enjoy?
For me, it’s been awesome. It’s been everything they promised it could be. There are a lot of people who want to return to their roots, and Farm Bureau gives people a great opportunity to get back to their hometown and make the transition a little easier.
Return to Your Roots
If you’re ready to make a move back home like Nick did, consider a future with Farm Bureau. Connect with the District Manager in your area to learn more.