Feed Bites

A Reflective Conversation with Scott Druker

Written by: Sarah Novak   |   August 14, 2023

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Having been with the American Feed Industry Association for many years, I have the honor to work with some of the most interesting and amazing leaders in the animal food industry. While I’m happy for them as they near retirement, I’m also sad to see them go. Here’s an interview with one such titan of the industry, Scott Druker, Ph.D. Scott is currently the general manager for the animal and food production division at Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production. I really got to know Scott when he served as chair of the AFIA Board in 2020-21. Below is our conversation.

Q: As you are nearing retirement, what is your favorite accomplishment of your career?

Druker: It is interesting you ask – “what is your favorite accomplishment…” I recently happened to spend time reflecting on what value is more important to me: achievement or accomplishment. While the meaning of these two words is often interchangeable, I like to think of an achievement as a reaching an externally measurable goal – earning a degree, reaching a proficiency in some specialty, etc., while an accomplishment is focused on an internally motivated goal. So, back to your question, my favorite accomplishment would be helping the professional and personal growth of the people I have had the honor to work with over my career at Church & Dwight. 

Q: As a person from a untraditional agricultural background now leading a major company in the animal food industry, what advice would you give to other individuals like you?

Druker: I like your polite description of me as a person with “an untraditional agricultural background.” I was a city kid with no experience in agriculture until I joined Church & Dwight. My advice would be the same to anybody in any industry that has the privilege to lead others: have an insatiable appetite for learning and surround yourself with smarter people than you and listen to them.

Q: What is the single most important trait you have seen in people who are or are becoming great leaders?

Druker: Trustworthiness. There are many important traits that I think are common to great leaders such as impatience, curiosity, integrity and empathy, to name a few. But, I think being trustworthy is the most important. As a leader your focus needs to be on the good of the whole versus optimizing the good of the individual. This means you are required to make decisions that will not be popular to various stakeholders. However, if the people you are responsible for leading trust that you are making decisions for the good of the team or organization, then they will do what is required to accomplish the goal.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge that our industry will face in the future? 

Druker:  I think the biggest challenge is going to be finding a way for crop and livestock producers to deal with the increasing environmental pressures – droughts, less arable land, suburban encroachment and regulations – in a manner that allows them to accomplish their mission of feeding people and earning a profit doing so.

Q: One of the things I most admired about you is the breadth of your reading – what are your favorite non-fiction, fiction and business books?

Druker: Well thanks – you make me seem like an intellectual. My mom would be proud.

  • My favorite non-fiction book:  Viktor Frankl’s, Mans Search for Meaning. My eleventh-grade social studies teacher made it required reading. A copy of the book (now made easier because of my e-reader) never leaves my side. The most memorable quote is, “The last of human freedoms - to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” I’ve really tried to live my personal and professional life by this mantra. (By the way, a close second would be “Enchirdion” by Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher.) 
  • My favorite fiction book: the Game of Thrones series.
  • My favorite business book: “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton Christensen.

Q: What is the first thing you are going to do once you are fully retired? 

Druker: When I am “fully retired?” Sleep past 6 a.m., maybe to 6:30 a.m.! I am not sure I will ever “fully retire” as I enjoy being able to give back to the industry that has been my honor to be a part of over the past 15 years. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to help and mentor other people. 

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