Mike Nordwald

Ray-Carroll County Grain Grower - Inducted in 2014


Before he was a cooperative employee, Mike Nordwald was a cooperative member. It was from the member’s view that Mike gained appreciation for the value of the cooperatively owned business.   


As general manager of Ray-Carroll, Mike earns high praise for his insistence that growth and new projects should be structured to return benefits and patronage to members. A visionary and tireless leader on behalf of Ray-Carroll, Mike is committed to earning member loyalty through exceptional performance and planning for a strong, vibrant future. 


 “Mike is one of the most exceptional business minds I have had an opportunity to work with… his understanding of exports and directing growth and construction of facilities to drive export sales is nothing short of amazing.”  His management of Ray-Carroll through an explosive growth phase has been stellar. With an eye always on enhanced services and added value for members, Ray-Carroll has grown in sales from $80 million to over $500 million annually and increased in volume from 10 million bushels of grain to 50 million bushels annually -- in the course of only 11 years.


Mike maintains a rock solid balance sheet. During his tenure, Ray-Carroll added nearly 7 million bushels of storage, three 110 car-unit train loading facilities, built a new elevator and restructured the refined fuels and L.P business. In addition, Mike positioned Ray-Carroll to make an impact through investment in several bio-fuel new-generation cooperatives; both ethanol and bio-diesel, including a key loan from Ray-Carroll to Show Me Ethanol as a bridge until the start up could gain a sound operational footing.  Mike’s leadership in development of the bio-fuels projects results from his keen understanding of the importance these markets provide Ray-Carroll as demand growth.


Ray-Carroll’s exceptional growth has been accomplished while also improving the cooperative’s financial position through earnings plus distribution of patronage to current members and revolving past member stock patronage.


Mike’s sound business ethics include a willingness to listen to concerns and needs of all members, to be fair and open minded, to treat others as he would want to be treated. He has a talent for envisioning the future, while not forgetting the past and staying relevant in the present.  Mike sets the bar high for himself. Without realizing it, he also improves the quality of all those around him – including the board. Mike is always willing to ask – and to answer – tough questions.


Mike supports the cooperative system, choosing to do business with regional cooperatives whenever possible.  A phrase Mike often uses summarizes his cooperative philosophy, “You win when you do business with yourself.”  For the members of Ray-Carroll, hiring a leader with roots as a cooperative member has proven to be a winning strategy.

forward thinker; exceptional business mind; innovative; driven to improve performance, services and patronage for members; stalwart support of the cooperative system