This month we are pleased to present Ariana Welch for our Spotlight Feature. DCI has had the pleasure of working with Ariana as a new contractor in 2021. She is a wonderfully dedicated agriculture professional and always brings a thoughtful, delightful perspective to the teams she is a part of. Please enjoy reading more about Ariana in this month's Contractor Spotlight.
How did you get involved with DCI?
One of DCI’s Recruitment Specialists, Trisha Benner, reached out to a friend of mine to network about project opportunities in my area. My friend connected me to Trisha and the DCI team and when the timing was right, I joined the DCI team as a Sales Associate on a market contact initiative.
Tell us about your background:
I grew up in Levelland, Texas where I was heavily involved in the ag world. My passion was showing pigs, and I was good at it! In school, I was also on an Agricultural Issues Team that ranked in the top five for the entire state of Texas. Choosing my major in agricultural communications felt like an easy decision: I grew up being raised on a family farm, my father-in-law farms as well - I’ve personally felt the triumphs and downfalls of what agricultural professionals face. My husband and I were recently fortunate enough to purchase a half-section of farmland this year, we’re looking forward to the experience and knowledge we will gain through this opportunity. My grandad always says, “They don’t make more land.”
What is the best thing about being a DCI Contractor?
The best thing about being a DCI contractor is the flexibility to work remotely with a growing family. Working for DCI has allowed me to “have my cake and eat it too”. I can’t forget to mention how professional the managers and directors are, the ones who make everything happen! On our first Zoom meeting, I instantly noticed the female leaders - that really gave me the confidence to believe in myself as a working mom, that yes, if I work for it I can have it all!
What was your first job?
My first job was being a lifeguard at a neighborhood Country Club every summer. I have yet to use my skills to save a life! I also helped a family friend train show pigs with their daughter. I trained her on the processes of training pigs and showmanship, and what the necessary steps should be from the early stages all the way to showtime.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I really love gardening and cooking. It’s been a three-year-long battle to get my blue hydrangeas just right. It’s common knowledge now that I have a slight obsession. Cooking has been an interest of mine for just as long, my family loves to try new things. I’ve learned a lot from watching The Food Network. In reality, cooking is an extension of agriculture, an art form of what it can become!
What do you do the first hour of the morning?
The first hour of the morning I get my daughter ready for school. I’m extremely fortunate she attends an at-home daycare on our street. I then come home and have my coffee, sit down and try to catch up on personal messages. It’s good to surround yourself with people who are early to rise in my opinion! Once I am caught up with messages, I sit down and get straight to work.
What is your greatest achievement?
My daughter Avah, she really whipped me into shape in every way that I needed. Having a child was truly the ultimate form of love for me, a token of what you and your partner can accomplish together. I would do anything for that little girl!
What are you ordering for your favorite meal?
That’s between a medium-rare steak or some form of Italian food. I cook a lot at home, it’s made me a little particular. I enjoy ordering things that I haven’t mastered yet, Thai food being number one.
Who is your favorite sports team and music genre?
My favorite sports team would be from my alma mater, Texas Tech Basketball. I prefer fast-paced sports the most and also one that I’ve played myself. I played basketball most of my life, it’s really just a fun sport to play. I’ve also always loved Texas Country music. In college, those were the concerts we were able to attend and be a part of - I love that they are singing about a life I am familiar with.
What is the happiest memory of your life?
My happiest memories are always at the same place with the same people - my family, on our annual river trip where we kayak! It’s a place we can always go back to, the fond memories of loved ones who have passed and will no longer join us will always remain. Being able to bring my daughter along has brought me immeasurable joy.
Tell us about your favorite pet
Easily, my favorite pet is my dog, Negan. I waited a long time to get my very own dog. After I got married and we bought our first home, I was secretly on the hunt for a dog and I eventually found Negan on a local “Lost a Found” Facebook page. Negan was abandoned at a Petco and I impulsively adopted him - a definite surprise to my husband, who is in fact, not an animal person! To endear my husband to the dog a bit more, I named him after a villain from a show we watched, and we are still married! The best way to describe Negan is to say that he is very aware, I know he understands things that other dogs just don’t. Negan has been my constant companion. He is a small white dog, one would swear that he is a terrier of sorts. It turns out, he’s actually a super-mutt. I was gifted a DNA test from my family to finally know what he was made of and the result are: 25.8%-Shih Tzu, 23.7%-Japanese Chin, 19.1%-Chihuahua, 11.0%- Small Poodle, 8.3%-Miniature Pinscher, and 12.1%-unknown. I promise he’s prettier than he sounds!
What three people (living or not) would you invite to a dinner party?
I would invite my grandmother Kiki, who’s no longer with me, my mom, and my daughter. We could be altogether just once. I couldn't be a part of that dinner without crying!
What was your first concert?
Wade Bowen, a Texas Country singer that I still love to catch anytime he’s in town!
What historical figure do you admire most and why?
Naomi Parker and the image she subsequently inspired. Namoi Parker is known around the world for her iconic pose that has been used on millions of "Rosie the Riveter" posters. If you aren't familiar, the Rosie the Riveter poster is a World War II-era illustration of a woman wearing a red bandana, flexing her arm muscle with the phrase “We Can Do It”. The illustration was inspired by an actual photo of Naomi working on machinery during the war, wearing a red bandana. The campaign was to encourage women to join the workforce during the war. Growing up there was a restaurant in Levelland that everyone knew called “Mean Women Grill”, Rosie the Riveter was featured on their billboard. I always idolized the billboard as a little girl and didn’t realize that until answering this question - I would flex my arm in the mirror to look like her! I loved that it was an image of a woman being tough and pretty at the same time!
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
My husband might say starting projects around the house. I only finish them to 90% because I want to hurry and move on to the next one. Currently, I’m looking at our front door that I need to finish sanding!
Tell us something about yourself most people who know you are NOT aware of
When I got pregnant it was a surprise, because I was planning on building my career before we started a family. I had my daughter and experienced extreme depression after, a condition I did not believe in until I had experienced it myself. God did wonders for healing me through means of self-reflection, perseverance, and most of all patience. There’s a way that the act of being stripped down allows you to rebuild something beautiful. The passage in Isaiah 48:10, “I have purified you by giving you troubles,” resonates with me now. I may externally exude happiness and it could be assumed I’ve always had it easy, because I did at some points in my life. However, I have earned my happiness and worked hard for who I have become, and I love who I am!
Where in the world are you dying to visit?
I’m dying to visit Australia. To me, they feel like the brothers and sisters of Texas. I love the wildlife, the way of life, and of course how they speak. Maybe growing up watching Steve Irwin had something to do with that!
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
I can think of two things in particular because I try to apply them daily. The first would be my mom's frequent reminder about the importance of always being a reliable person because it affects so many people. The other would be one of the many things my grandfather Banky has shared with me over the years, “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” My grandparents displayed a newspaper clipping of a battleship touting this quote on their refrigerator. It’s funny how quickly things start to make sense with age.
I would like to end my spotlight with a favorite quote, "When you're lost, be lost in the right direction."