Alumni Profile: Q&A with 2008 LSC Grad and Marketing and Communications Director Buffy Uglow

Buffy Uglow, Director of Marketing and Communications at Rock River Laboratory and 2008 LSC alumna.

A passion for agriculture, marketing, and communications led Buffy Uglow to the Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC). A 2008 Bachelor of Science graduate of LSC and Animal Science, she brings the skill sets and theories she learned in LSC to her position as the Marketing and Communications Director for Rock River Laboratory in Watertown, Wisconsin. We reached out to Uglow to ask about how she uses her education in her position and why her time with LSC is so valuable to her.

Q: Can you describe what your current position entails and explain how a UW–Madison and LSC education has been useful to you?
Uglow: My current position is the Rock River Laboratory Marketing and Communications Director. Rock River Laboratory is an agricultural laboratory that utilizes highly scientific processes, research, and technology to help our customers make decisions for successful outcomes. Our analysis of soil and animal feed samples, along with our research for industry advancement, helps agriculture companies and their nutrition and agronomy consultants advise their clients for optimal management of their farms. My specific role employs my knowledge in these areas of agriculture, plus communications skills, to bring our story to a level that we can share with customers, prospective clients, partners, and industry influencers. Sharing this story, our capabilities, and our experts’ knowledge is key to our business growth and industry growth.

Thanks to the curriculum I studied at UW Madison, along with the experiences I had through my involvement in the Saddle and Sirloin Club, Badger Dairy Club, and the National Agri-Marketing Association student chapter, I’m able to develop content that best communicates Rock River Laboratory advancements to the aforementioned parts of the industry. From writing articles and blog posts that share our experts’ knowledge of capturing images and video to supplement our in-field tools and generate social engagement, my UW-Madison degrees have helped me every step of the way.

I’m also constantly using the concepts from my LSC degree to help improve and optimize our team’s internal and external communication. Since joining Rock River Laboratory, our team has grown significantly in both size and coverage across the world. Thanks to my degree, I’m able to train our team to adopt effective and efficient communications strategies both domestically and abroad. With seven domestic labs and international labs in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Germany, optimal and consistent communication is imperative to our business’s success.

Q: Why do you think an LSC degree is valuable?
Uglow: What separates LSC from other degrees, and makes the degrees earned from this department so valuable is the real-world learning. Having the opportunity to learn from talented professors and lecturers that all have experience working within the industry is invaluable. They guide you through a practical problem to gain the skills needed for a solution you would apply in your professional career. Hearing the client-to-customer or editor-to-writer scenarios from classes and using those to put together action plans allowed me to hit the ground running upon graduation. I still use those action plans in my career today.

LSC covers so much knowledge that can be used to help a person be highly effective in any role they take on. Even in the extra-curricular groups I’m still involved with, such as Wisconsin Farm to Table and the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board, this degree has set me up for success. LSC helped develop my skillset in connecting with consumers, as well as interpreting scientific principles to apply outside of the laboratory and farm. Making the connections between science and farm to folks is a realm I’m constantly working within, and my LSC degree has helped me to bring these pieces together to help others not only better understand but make knowledge-based decisions for their businesses as well as their families.

Q: Were there any concepts or skills in particular that you learned in LSC classes that you still use today?
Uglow: I am ever thankful that several of my LSC classes helped grow my verbal communication skills. Between Information Radio class and National Agri-Marketing Association team presentation, I’m better able to verbally deliver important information. In my current role, I’m regularly attending tradeshows, while also addressing all kinds of different audience groups at the laboratory and our customer events. More than a few of my LSC classes helped me prep and tailor my messages, as well as deliver them clearly and concisely to connect with the audience at hand.

Q: What’s one of your favorite LSC memories?
Uglow: So many memories come to mind, but the people I met and spent time with thanks to my Information Radio class is by far a favorite of mine. Nothing can compare to a recorded interview with the ‘The Vegetable Guy’, UW-Madison horticulture professor Jim Nienhuis, who is the face behind the Giant Pumpkin Regatta. And the late nights spent with fellow project team members in the radio booth for the final segment, followed by a McDonald’s run, are irreplaceable.

Q: Any advice for someone looking to go into your career field?
Uglow: Both the agriculture industry and the marketing and communications industry are ever-changing. Stay abreast of not only the current events but current tools and how to employ them. Technology has taken us to a whole new level in this industry, and it’s not going to stop. The best way to stay at the forefront of your business’s success is to be ever learning.