Elanco leader takes top NAMA marketing honor.
The National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) has honored Donald Hecht, recently retired director of sales and marketing, Elanco Animal Health, Indianapolis, with the NAMA Marketer of the Year Award. This award, NAMA's most prestigious honor for marketers, is awarded to active members of the association for outstanding accomplishments in the field of agriculture.
LEADING THE PACK
Hecht's leadership with the Elanco Brand Council and his personal efforts to establish the Animal Agriculture Alliance were key factors in selecting him for this honor.
"It just seemed like the natural thing to do," says Hecht as he talks about the newly formed Animal Agriculture Alliance. "We were doing a pretty good job representing animal production issues through the Animal Industry Foundation, but clearly needed to become a more proactive organization and extend our scope to include the processors and retailers from the world of integrated food business."
Such humility and common sense has been standard procedure during Hecht's 31-plus-year career in service to animal agriculture. So, too, has been his ability to make things happen within his professional life at Elanco Animal Health and for the animal production sector.
Hecht's leadership of the Elanco Brand Council has resulted in a thorough, no-holds-barred look at Elanco's brand culture and position in the marketplace. Again, Hecht's down-to-earth approach served the group well and has resulted in a renewed understanding of Elanco's unique characteristics. He commented, "With strong people like we have at Elanco, it's easy to be a leader and accomplish a lot of good things."
Though Hecht will no longer be involved with the work of the Brand Council, he has set the expectations and demonstrated the importance of a continual validation of the Elanco brand.
Hecht's career included stints in the dairy, swine and beef cattle business units as well as international service for Elanco. He has overseen multiple new product introductions and line extensions, helping make Elanco a leader in the animal health arena. Under his leadership, the feed additives, Rumensin[R] and Tylan Premix and the injectable antibiotic Micotil, have continued to lead their categories despite the introduction of several competitive products and label extensions. Repositioning, additional clearances and innovative product tie-ins with these products have helped set a record of market leadership. Hecht would be quick to stress that a strong sales, marketing and technical support organization have been major components to Elanco's marketing success.
At his recent retirement party, Hecht was reminded that his original job application included his interest in "not traveling too much and not being away from home more than two nights a week." Those familiar with Hecht's career know that despite these stated desires, he traveled often in the line of duty for Elanco. As he puts it, "I couldn't have had a successful career without a strong family to keep the home fires burning while I was away."
Hecht has been a long-standing NAMA member with service at the national and local chapter level. He has also encouraged other Elanco staffers to assume responsibilities in their respective local chapters. "NAMA involvement adds a dimension to professional growth that doesn't happen any other way," observes Hecht. "It's a good place to network with other professionals who share the same challenges and opportunities and a great place to learn more about the practical aspects of agricultural marketing."
Hecht is an Ag Business graduate of Kansas State University (KSU), where he serves as a member of the Master in Agribusiness Advisory Council. This past October Hecht also received the KSU Agriculture Economics 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award.
NAMA's Marketer of the Year Award was presented to Hecht at the 2002 Agri-Marketing Conference and Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn., in April.