Outgoing senior is driven to succeed
By Jeanne Gibson
Photo by Jeanne Gibson
Joe Harmeyer, a senior animal agribusiness major from Batesville, Ind., stops by the Unfinished Block P sculpture on his way to class.
Joe Harmeyer is a teaching assistant for an animal sciences course that focuses on leadership. On the first day of classes he was dressed in boots and jeans and introduced himself to the group of juniors and seniors.
“I’m just a dumb country boy from southern Indiana,” said the senior animal agribusiness major from Batesville, Ind.
The line had the desired effect. These students are veterans of the typical first-day introductions, but even they couldn’t help but laugh at Harmeyer’s introduction as he took his seat.
As he went to his next class Harmeyer couldn’t get far before somebody stopped him along the way.
“How are ya?” he asked and smiled to nearly everyone he passed.
Despite what he told the class, this outgoing senior is anything but dumb. When he’s not busy with classes, or serving as a senator in Purdue Student Government, or participating with the Purdue Diesel Club he founded, Harmeyer has been leading an effort to create an open door to agriculture for the rest of campus. The goal of the Agriculture Task Force is to promote, educate and engage students about modern agriculture
“Like a quarterback of a football team, I know that the success of the task force and the ag week we have planned depends upon my ability as a leader of the group,” said Harmeyer. “Motivation comes from my drive to win, to be an effective leader and to capitalize on the ability of great people beside me.”
It’s hard to imagine that a four-year university was not what Harmeyer had in mind for life after high school. He attended a vocational school during his junior and senior years in high school and had every intention of going to a technical school after high school to become a diesel mechanic. After talking with his parents and high school agriculture teacher, he decided to take a different route to get to his dream job.
“Starting my own livestock transporting business has always been a dream of mine, and I started to make it a reality when I was just out of high school,” he said. “I think it’s the only thing that sets me apart from other people I know at Purdue.”
Harmeyer has strived to do his best in college.
“The most rewarding part of my time at Purdue is the people I’ve met here,” he said. “Not just the networking connections, but the close friends I’ve met. ”
It makes sense that Harmeyer considers making friends his greatest accomplishment. He lives by the motto that a person should surround himself or herself with good people. In each of his leadership positions, as well as in his everyday life, Harmeyer said having the right people is the key to being successful and happy.
Harmeyer said his best example of having the right people with him has been starting the agriculture task force on Purdue’s campus. The group has worked all year on planning an “ag week” to promote all aspects of agriculture on Purdue’s campus.
“I have the best people working on this, and the success of what we’ve done is all on them,” he said. “When I’m leading a group of people and something goes right, I always look through the window at them, because they accomplished it; when something goes wrong, I look in the mirror at myself, because it is something I didn’t do right.”
Harmeyer also strives to never settle in life.
“I once heard that a business fails when it becomes complacent,” he said. “I think that is when I will fail in life, if I become complacent,” he said.
So he’s spent his college career on the move.
“I started the Diesel Club just to see if I could do it and to challenge myself.”
When the Diesel Club became successful, Harmeyer decided to run Purdue Student Government senator to represent the College of Agriculture. When he accomplished that, he and his fellow senator began the Agriculture Task Force to promote agriculture across campus.
“The task force is something that I am really passionate about, but the members that make it up are some of the busiest and accomplished students at Purdue,” he said. “The opportunity to lead them was just another drive for me to be better.”
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Purdue Animal Sciences