100 Years and Growing: 100 Years and Innovating | 100 Years and Giving | 100 Years and Evolving

September Submissions

Growing doesn’t just happen on the farm. At Wilbur-Ellis, our scientists, agronomists and others across the company use science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) every day, as we grow our business and serve customers in agriculture, animal nutrition, chemicals and energy.

What role do you see science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) playing—today or in the future—for Wilbur-Ellis or the broader world? And what would you tell kids about the importance of studying STEM in school as they prepare for the jobs of tomorrow?

David Puckett, United States

Dan Willey, United States (Corporate)

Tze Ying Goh, Singapore (Connell)

In my opinion, STEM is playing a critical role in today and more emphasis will be placed in the future - for Wilbur-Ellis and also for the broader world. For example, we are already seeing inventions like "Impossible burger", the new collagen from Geltor. I would expect to see more breakthroughs in STEM and the use of it in our daily life. Wilbur-Ellis would have to be in the forefront of the wave to capture the market. I would tell kids when it comes to STEM, they should be open minded, willing to learn more and be daring to ask questions, to be creative and innovative to explore different ideas, and always try and never give up if they meet any failures.

Michael Fordon, United States

Amie Thesingh, United States (Corporate)

STEM is everywhere! From the Oreos you eat (portion measurements, ingredient production, plant production engineering) to the car you drive (design engineering, materials science, safety testing) and everything in between. But STEM goes beyond just it's core topics. STEM activities teach you how to break down a problem, think critically, and find solutions. It teaches you how to think and make good choices - which is critical for everyone.

Jeanne Forbis

Jeanne Forbis, United States (Corporate)

As the industries Wilbur-Ellis serves become more complex, STEM is going to play an increasingly important role. Innovation will be the differentiator that separates us from the competition – and just about every groundbreaking innovation over the past 100 years has been rooted in STEM. But as a liberal arts major in college and a writer throughout my career, I’d also put in a plug for the liberal arts (fields like history, literature, writing, and the creative arts). These areas of study can spark imagination and new ideas. But without STEM, many of those creative ideas would never be brought to life.

Indu Yadav, India (Connell)

As the world of work changes, Lifestyle changes, education changes & world economy changes. Digital technology has become a core part of our everyday lives. As the world of work changes, we will need to change our skills & thought process to match with today’s fast and digital world. Important role STEM plays in 21st century and jobs for tomorrow. SCIENCE is sharing findings, observing, asking questions, making predictions, experimenting wondering how things work. TECHNOLOGY is using a variety of tools, identifying issues, making things work, using computers. Inventive ENGINEERING is problem solving, designing, creating, testing materials, building. MATH is sequencing, patterning, exploring shapes, numbers, volume, and size. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics workers play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the economy. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators. Innovation leads to new products and processes that sustain our economy. This innovation and science literacy depend on a solid knowledge base in the STEM areas. Most jobs of the future will require a basic understanding of math and science. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM is important because it pervades every part of our lives. Science is everywhere in the world around us. Technology is continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives. Engineering is the basic designs of roads and bridges, but also tackles the challenges of changing global weather and environmentally friendly changes to our home. Mathematics is in every occupation, every activity we do in our lives. Role of science and technology for future development. To prepare for a smooth transition to an information society. To improve the quality of life Technology in areas of public health such as disease control, medicine and medical electronics needs to be developed. To sustain the growth of the national economy and to improve its efficiency For a resource-poor country like the Republic of Korea, conserving energy and oil-substitutable energy is vital. Food technology is similarly important to maintain social stability. Science and technology are expected to play a vitally important role in ensuring national security and social stability. Engineering plays an important role like: Engineers have the skills to turn products of the imagination into real-world innovation Aeronautical Engineering • Faster planes that run on new types of fuel • New propulsion systems that make flying cheaper and safer • Technology that allows for streamlined vertical take-off and landing. Aeronautical Engineering: • Mechatronics Engineers will create autonomous machines to harvest crops with precision at ideal times. • Horizontal storage facilities could be replaced with vertical 'smart structures' that process food. • Energy use will be more efficient, and waste will be recycled in new ways. Biomedical Engineering: • Improved imaging techniques for faster diagnosis of illnesses • Refined bionic implants that are more accessible to all who need them • An even better understanding of the human body. Chemical Engineering • More efficient systems for fuel development • Artificial blood • Powerful medicine • The next generation of plastics and biodegradable chemical-based materials. Civil Engineering • Make even larger skyscrapers possible, allowing many people to collaborate and work in a single place • Allow for new modes of transportation to be implemented • Make recycling waste and using resources such as water and electricity more efficient • Cater to new technologies such as self-driving cars. Electrical Engineering will provide • Faster and more efficient wireless charging systems • New types of electric cars • The next generation of solar technology for a greener power system. Electronic Engineering • Shrinking headsets and glasses for virtual reality and augmented reality • Making the Internet even faster • Creating super-fast quantum computers. Environmental Engineers: • Offsetting carbon emissions to counteract damage to the environment • Creating new methods for mining and drilling of resources that have far less impact on the environment • Ecosystem management for expanding cities and suburban zones • Assisting other branches of engineering with the management of conditions brought about by climate change. Industrial Engineers • Manage the transition from large fabrication machines to smaller 3D printing-oriented solutions • Decide which tasks in a factory should be automated with robotics and mechatronics and which should remain human-powered • Be at the forefront of entirely new industries as technology and capability advances. software includes: • Programs that use historical data and real-time climatic analysis to more accurately predict weather patterns • Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems that will help people find information, complete tasks and even solve complex problems that humans cannot • The creation of intricate virtual environments where people won’t only play games but will also work, research and more. Medical future like: Mixed reality opens new ways for medical education- it can project the human body in its full size in front of med students. Thus, the organs, veins or bones will be visible accurately in 3D, and future medical professionals will be able to analyse their shape, remember their characteristics more vividly than it is possible when studying from a book. - Virtual OPD & digitizer report access form anywhere in the world. - People can monitor everyday health rate by device. - Nanotechnology bring drugs to body directly.

Carrie Williams, United States (Corporate)

STEM education goes well beyond science, technology, engineering and math. A STEM education includes many other areas such as; leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, curiosity, decision making, and more. What I would say to kids about the importance of STEM is that no matter what future career path is chosen, that their STEM education will help them to be successful. At Wilbur-Ellis, STEM plays a vital role in many areas but the area where I see the biggest impact is in our ability to be innovative in driving solutions for our customers.

Adrielle Yeow

Adrielle Yeow, Malaysia (Connell)

When I was in school, I somehow had the impression that STEM is only for the smart students because of how technical and abstract it becomes the higher it gets in the level. However, growing up and observing life around, I realize that every job needs STEM some way or another with the progress of technology and globalization via internet. I see and hope STEM and Wilbur-Ellis business will not just advance people's lives but also to turn rubbish, waste and rejects into energy or material for production so that we don't have more landfills, rubbish islands or export waste to second or third world countries. I share to my daughter and students in voluntary work; the fact of God's creation: the universe, the nature and living beings. God enables human the wisdom to learn, think, create and innovate to make things and discoveries to enjoy lives. I share examples on how they can apply STEM in their work one day even though it may not make much sense now as they study. When they share their ambition, I will highlight how important for them to learn counting (MATHEMATICS) now, to use the computer or smart phone wisely (TECHNOLOGY) and if they aim to be in professional role, they need to take up subjects in SCIENCE and ENGINEERING of the specific course.

Simon Ford

Simon Ford, Australia (Connell)

STEM has small influences on everything we do in our lives.....a lot of the time without us being aware of it. Children studying STEM is vital as it will provide them with the foundations of their future lives, both professionally and personally, in ways that no one has even thought of yet! When we travel and run our own personal economies at home, we use these skills and knowledge to make every day decisions. Our family likes to camp, so, we use technology to stay aware of our surroundings, and stay safe while enjoying the great outdoors. ☺

Brett Dunn, United States (Agribusiness)

STEM is important because our world depends on it. The economy, our general well-being, it’s all backed by science, technology, engineering, and math. Here are some statistics I found listed on the internet: In 2018 alone it was estimated that 2.4 million STEM jobs went unfilled for the year. STEM education stats Below is a quick look at a few of the more popular STEM statistics, with details below each. 1. STEM jobs are projected to grow 13%. Between 2017 and 2027, the number of STEM jobs will grow 13 percent, compared to 9 percent for non-STEM jobs—with positions in computing, engineering, and advanced manufacturing leading the way. (Via the Education Commission of the States) 2. Specifically, employment in computer and IT occupations is projected to grow 11%. From 2019 to 2029, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11%. This is said to be "much faster" than the average for all occupations. (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) 3. Employment in STEM occupations has grown 79% since 1990. Overall, since 1990, employment in STEM occupations has grown 79%—increasing from 9.7 million to 17.3 million. (Via a 2018 article from Pew Research Center) So, there IS an increasing demand for STEM jobs... 4. The average median hourly wage for STEM jobs is $38.85. Compared to the median earnings for all other types of jobs in the US - $19.30 - STEM-related jobs pay exceptionally well. (Via the Education Commission of the States) 5. The median annual wage of STEM occupations in 2019 was $86,980. This is well over double of that of non-STEM occupations, where the median annual wage came in at $38,160. (Via the Bureau of Labor Statistics) And the above says STEM jobs seem to pay well... 6. The US placed 38th of 71 countries in math, and 24th in science. This is according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)—which is regarded as one of the biggest cross-national tests of its kind. (Via the Pew Research Center; Pew also published these 7 facts about the STEM workforce on 1/9/18) 7. US universities are expected to produce only 29% of the required number of grads. That is, to fill the 1.4 million computer specialist job openings projected to be available in 2020. (Projected by the US Department of Labor and referenced by the White House back in 2013. ) But this tells us the education system isn't producing candidates... 8. 74% of middle school girls express an interest in engineering, science, and math... But only 0.4% choose computer science as a major when they get to college. (Reported by girlswhocode.org and mentioned by the National Girls Collaborative Project) 9. 2 out of 3 U.S. women say they were not encouraged to pursue a career in STEM. In the 2019 STEM survey by Emerson, it was stated that 2 of 3 women said they weren't encouraged to pursue a STEM career. (From Emerson.com) 10. Women make up only about 18% of computer science undergrads. It's stated that for the 2016-17 academic year women earned roughly 57% of all bachelor’s degrees. But when it comes to computer science specifically, in 2015, women earned only 18% of such degrees in the nation. 11. 63% of middle school girls who know women in STEM feel powerful doing STEM. In comparison, 46% of middle school girls who don't personally know women in STEM feel powerful doing STEM. Similarly, 73% of those girls who personally know women in STEM understand the relevancy of STEM, and 72% know how to pursue a STEM career. This is compared to 51% and 47% of those who don't personally know women in STEM, respectively. (via Microsoft and a study done in partnership with KRC research) 12. Moms who communicate on STEM leads to girls being +20 points more interested. From the same study above, "Having an encouraging mom who communicates about STEM is associated with girls being an average +20 points more interested in all STEM subjects compared to those girls who do not." Having an encouraging teacher is associated with +21 points; having an encouraging dad is associated with +17 points. Thus, women are vastly underrepresented in STEM, and could benefit from mentors and encouragement... 13. 40% of black students switch out of STEM majors before earning a degree. This is according to a study published in the journal, Education Researcher, and highlighted by the Education Advisory Board. 14. Black workers make up 11% of the U.S. workforce but represent 9% of STEM workers. This is in addition to Hispanics, who make up 16% of the workforce, but only 7% of all STEM workers. And, of those employed adults who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, 7% are black workers and 6% are Hispanic workers of the STEM workforce." (via Pew Research Center)

Gina Colfer, United States (Agribusiness)

I have been involved in Agriculture my entire life having grown up on a farm and now being employed in Ag, and the one quote that always sticks with me is, “Farming, it’s not rocket science, it’s way more complicated than that!”

Teresa Truong, United States

The role of STEM in the broader world is vital to having a sustained growth and stability in our economy of the world. Both of these components are key to not only in today's society, but also our future. To be able to use STEM for critical thinking and to apply the knowledge of what we know to better ourselves and the world we live in with our next generation of innovators with our creative minds. The importance of studying STEM is that it gives us solid knowledge on the STEM areas and to have the basic understandings of math and science as it is a part of our everyday lives. Everywhere around us and from generation to generation kids are constantly growing up with newly designed technology and as it is continuously expanding, kids are studying STEM to better understand the basic designs and to tackle these challenges that are constantly changing and with STEM knowledge, they are better exposed and will have more opportunities available for them. They will better see how the concepts relate to life and understand things from a different perspective with their STEM background.

Lori Long, United States (Nutrition)

STEM has always been an important thing to study but never more than now. Things change rapidly and we all need to keep up.

Gavin Giere

Gavin Giere, United States (Corporate)

As a former NASA Dive Instructor training the astronauts for space walks, I was fortunate enough to speak with children, parents, & teachers about the importance of STEM and not only for becoming an astronaut ;-) Almost every job and/or hobby, revolves around STEM and therefore is critical for the continued growth and sustainability of our world. The sky's not the limit; however, it takes continuous application of education & learning.

Melissa Weber

Melissa Weber, United States (Nutrition)

Wilbur-Ellis is rooted in agriculture products and services, and agriculture involves so many STEM areas: biology, genetics, engineering, math, physics, etc. With the continued pressure to preserve natural resources while still feeding the world (including pets), there is a higher need than ever for bright minds to develop technologies that drive efficiency and nurture food and human safety. Agricultural and food practices have evolved so much in the past 100 years, and continued evolution requires dedicated STEM experts to use knowledge and creativity to make the transformation needed for sustainability for the next 100 years. It's critically important to inspire the curiosity in kids to understand how things work. This is the 1st step in introducing kids to STEM careers. By having curiosity, kids begin to explore STEM subjects like engineering, chemistry and physics that can generate aspirations to pursue STEM careers. I spend time volunteering with 4-H STEM programs in my area to teach the science that goes into food production/cooking, and I make it a focus to do STEM activities with my daughter, such as the one experiment in the picture. Seeing their excitement for how things work, gives me hope that these talented kids will make an impact in the STEM careers when they grow up.

Rechelda Hirang

Rechelda Hirang, Philippines (Connell)

In Connell, we are building towards innovative growth and sustainability, in terms of the products, new concepts or solutions that we offer to customers. It is fundamental in our learning from STEM that we contribute and play a part in taking care of the environment. This is through our key initiatives in engaging with customers on what are their vision towards a sustainable future for their company - and Connell will be able to cooperate and collaborate by providing innovative and sustainable solutions and products that will help them fulfill this vision. Connell has the capability to use expertise in STEM in order to produce new concepts with sustainable differentiation in the market because not only will it help the customers in their business grow, but we will also take part in helping to preserve our natural resources/environment. This kind of initiative will put a name to Connell as a company with #care #livingsafe #sustainability #innovation not only to its employees and customers but also to the environment. The importance of STEM in school is that it teaches our kids about the fundamentals of how to use their education in the future to make a positive difference (even in small ways they know) to contribute to saving our world - may it be in the field of pharmaceuticals, medicine, agriculture, chemistry, etc.

Marju Hermogeno

Marju Hermogeno, Philippines (Connell)

STEM is an integral part of our future economic and social development. Change is happening all around us and the pace of that change in the workplace, the economy and our everyday lives is relentless. It is driven largely by developments in STEM and, in particular, technology. In areas such as low carbon and digital technology we need to be equipped to be at the forefront of innovation, and create the right environment for further business investment. STEM education helps to bridge the ethnic and gender gaps sometimes found in math and science fields. Initiatives have been established to increase the roles of women and minorities in STEM-related fields. STEM education breaks the traditional gender roles. In order to compete in a global economy, STEM education and careers must be a national priority. Each and every decision made uses an aspect of STEM to understand the implications. Programs outside of school can help children to see that STEM is more than a class to finish. Having activities that show real-life implication of STEM can pull together the ideas presented in school and help to show how they benefit our society and even our world as a whole. Children can see that what they are learning now is pertinent to their future and the future of the whole world, creating an interest often lacking when learning new concepts that do not seem to carry real-world application. Engineering For Kids, for example, offers a suite of STEM enrichment programs for children ages 4 to 14.

Seenivasan Madasamy, India (Connell)

In a fourth industrial revolution (4IR) STEM education is a basic requirement like: 1. Artificial intelligence 2. Robotics 3. Cyber security 4. Quantum computing 5. Space - Physics 6. Augment reality & Virtual reality 7. Blockchain

Jason Woulfin, United States

Everyday STEM and the developments/technologies that result from them becomes a bigger part of our lives whether we realize it or not. If you lack the ability to understand the science and engineering that runs the technologies then you become completely dependent on them without the ability to make your own determinations. Understanding STEM gives you the freedom to arrive at your own answers or interpret the information you are receiving and not relying on what others tell you is in the data. That freedom is critical if you want to succeed on your own.

Joshua Grime, United States (Agribusiness)

STEM is huge in my opinion. Today's world is science and data hungry. I see the future being even more hungry for info and advancements. Wilbur-Ellis is a leader in technology and STEM plays a very big role in this. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power.


As part of our 100th anniversary celebration, we launched the Giving Program to help people in need worldwide. In total, the Giving Program raised $52,000 USD for the Red Cross, building on the company’s $100,000 donation in 2020.

Giving Program Recap