Iowa had always been a great place to live for Johnnie Jindrich, a member of the corporate communications team for Kent Corporation in Muscatine. But once she left the state to experience life on the coast, she began to realize that for her, Iowa is truly home.
Q: Why did you decide to move to Iowa? What factors went into that decision?
For me, Iowa is home. When I was a reporter for WQAD-TV in the Quad Cities, a man I interviewed once told me something that really stuck. He said, "You have to go back to your roots to find what you're truly passionate about."
For me, my roots are in Iowa and I have found my passion for communications here. After graduating from Iowa State, I moved away from Iowa for a few years then came back to Muscatine where I grew up. I feel like I’m at home in Muscatine, for sure.
Q: What aspects of living in Iowa factored most heavily into your decision to come back?
My family is from here so, of course, that's what brought me back, but what has made me stay is the quality of life. I enjoy a great job, a three-minute commute to work, and a five-minute trip to the local YMCA to watch my three-year-old daughter play soccer. My fiancé and I travel no more than 10 minutes anywhere in our community to see a close friend. We can enjoy our careers, enjoy our family and choose to travel anywhere that we want in the world. I think that’s an approach that works really well for us and I love that.
Q: What do you enjoy about working for Kent Corporation?
Kent Corporation has a meaningful purpose. From Field to Family we are people helping a growing world do more with diverse, essential products for the whole family, including food, beverage and ingredients, as well as agriculture and pet care. I work on the communications team and part of my job is to make sure, both internally and externally, our stakeholders are informed.
I am very thankful to have an excellent employer (we were recently named a two-time U.S. Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and the Wall Street Journal) that treats me well and gives me opportunities to grow. Iowa is like a workhorse for this country — it's full of good people who work at companies that really matter to the American supply chain. Growing up in Iowa, I never knew that to the extent I do now. I have found an Iowa-based company with a really important purpose that contributes to not only the overall American economy but also the world economy.
Q: What do you think is unique about pursuing your career in Iowa?
I think there is a lot of opportunity in Iowa — we are humble with a great work ethic and don't always stop to tell our story. I, ironically, love that about this state.
Q: What is the culture like at Kent Corporation and what gets you excited to work for the company?
I would say, certainly the company’s overall purpose fires me up to go to work. I love that Kent Corporation is a fourth-generation, family-owned company with deep roots, strong values and we’re thriving more than ever. The culture here is just fantastic; the leadership is incredibly supportive. People are considered the company’s greatest asset and it’s a respectful place to build a long-term career.
Q: How has Iowa changed since you grew up here?
I thought growing up in Iowa was great. My parents exposed my siblings and me to a number of different experiences. We got to go hunting, played with our friends outside, went sledding, just a bunch of different activities as a kid. I had a wonderful college experience at Iowa State; I had really good professors and had a great experience working for the Iowa State Cyclone football team.
Being back, there’s much more development across Iowa. Specifically, in Downtown Muscatine, which is right on the Mississippi River, there are so many new and expanding shops. There’s a beautiful hotel called the Merrill Hotel and Conference Center that has won multiple awards. The quality of life that can be enjoyed in Iowa continues to get better. I am impressed by the Muscatine community’s philanthropic nature – where there is a need, there is a program. I enjoy giving back and being part of that.
Q: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
I like to spend time with family and friends. I love dining out, cooking nice meals, and staying healthy by spending time outside or exercising.
I also really enjoy working on my house. We’ve lived in our house for nearly a year and one of my favorite things to do is go to the second-hand and vintage shops in Muscatine and the surrounding area to buy furniture and decorate my house. My hobby is trying to make my home a beautiful place to live with my family and entertain. When you live in Iowa, the options for nice homes are prevalent.
Q: What would you say to someone considering a move to Iowa?
I would say give it a shot; Iowa is a great place to live. The people here are kind and respectful, you can find life-long friends and it’s a great place to put your children through school. We have a lot of outdoor attractions with all the parks and the trails. We are so fortunate to have the Mississippi River; in addition to boating, skiing and hanging out on the sand bars, there are always festivals and concerts in the communities along the river. In Iowa, you can build a life you truly enjoy and can invest in.
Want to read more stories about living and working in Iowa? Visit the career section of This is Iowa.