Bill Streeter

MFA Incorporated— Inducted in 2016

Bill Streeter devoted his career and life to cooperatives. He began with MFA Oil in 1973. Shortly thereafter, he oversaw the transfer of the chemical division to MFA Incorporated. In 1978 he became manager of farm supply. By 1982 he was promoted to sales manager at MFA Incorporated, then vice president of corporate sales in 1986, and senior vice president of MFA's agri services division in 1999. The corporate board selected Streeter as President and CEO in March 2009.

 

When Bill Streeter stepped into the role of president and CEO at the beginning of 2009, MFA and U.S. agriculture faced a world-wide market collapse. Losses from MFA inventories drew the attention of bankers, because early in 2008, MFA, in conjunction with CoBank, had entered a syndicated loan with several Farm Credit System banks around the country. Many of the bankers had no history with MFA.

 

Streeter's calm approach, insightful solutions and decisive focus on problem solving helped allay banker concerns while simultaneously energizing employees and reassuring members. Bill Streeter was the right man in the right place at the right time. Dr. Michael Cook, University of Missouri, says, "Bill Streeter is one of Missouri's hidden gem... with an exceptional mind and keen business acumen."

 

Streeter implemented enhanced strategic planning for finance, marketing and risk management. Sales increased 40 percent and the company's net worth nearly doubled during his CEO tenure. As a result of Streeter's actions (he would say the MFA Team's actions), MFA quickly developed a detailed roadmap to profitability and streamlined operations to focus on core competencies with a stronger commitment to business fundamentals. Streeter focused on three fronts: a customer-centric approach, an intense balance sheet focus and a participative management structure that required his executive staff to make decisions and stand accountable for decisions and results. Planning, execution and keeping score form the basis of his management style.

 

MFA emerged from the market collapse wiser, more streamlined and stronger. In his last year as CEO, the company had $1.5 billion in sales, had restored working capital to $98 million before patronage and had returned to solid profitability and solvency ratios, plus boasted a top 10 ranking nationally in a variety of categories (from retail outlets, to grain sales, to precision agriculture, to plant foods) as measured against all companies involved in agriculture (both cooperative and investor-owned entities).

 

Streeter recognized the importance of investment in people and training. He attracted the highest quality and most talented workforce in the company's history. This is his true legacy. The comprehensive employee training programs and processes Streeter set in motion will accomplish his goal to provide effective service to farmer members long into the future. From Streeter's perspective, there are always substitutes for products. There are no substitutes for people and processes.

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Participative management; unflagging performance for farmer owners and the cooperative; exceptional business acumen; unmatched insight; a true champion of cooperative education