Why an experience team?
Experience! The Engler Program is designed to provide you a playing field where you have the opportunity to be in the game (or even reinvent it). By being in the game you experience the joy, exhilaration, risk and accountability that comes when investment of time and talent matters, when you can affect the outcome, when you put it on the line to compete!
We offer an experienced team who has made it their mission to coach, cajole, challenge, and celebrate aspiring entrepreneurs. Over time we expect you to grow into a role as a colleague and collaborator with us.
Meet the Experience Team
Tom Field, PhD
103K Miller Hall
Tom is a passionate advocate for education, agriculture, free enterprise, engaged citizenship, and the potential of young people. He serves the people of Nebraska as the Director of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and holder of the Engler Chair in Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is also a noted agricultural author with works including his column "Out of the Box" and featured commentator of "The Entrepreneurial Minute" on the Angus Report on RFD-TV.
A frequent speaker at agricultural events in the U.S. and abroad, he has consulted with a number of agricultural enterprises and organizations, and has served on numerous boards related to education, agriculture, and athletics. He is the co-owner of Field Land and Cattle Company, LLC in Colorado. He and his wife Laura watch over a brood that includes a son in the Teach for America Program, twins who are seniors in college and toddler twins to round out the team.
103 Miller Hall
Michelle grew up in Minden, Neb., and is a graduate of UNK with a BS in Comprehensive Business Administration with emphasis in Marketing. During college, she married her "high school sweetheart" Jeff Bassford, who is also employed at UNL in IANR. After graduation, they moved to Tucson, Ariz., and spent 10 years starting careers and a family. During that time, Michelle worked in the insurance industry as a licensed staff person for a State Farm agent and then a claims adjuster for Allstate Insurance Company in the property damage/bodily injury arena. In 2001, after adopting a 1 year old son from Russia, she moved back to Lincoln with Jeff and chose to stay at home for a period of time.
During 2003 she became a self-employed Mary Kay Consultant and in 2005 they added to their family by adopting an infant girl here in Lincoln. Michelle felt a calling to become a part-time office manager in 2007 for Eastridge Presbyterian Church and worked there for 6 years until an amazing opportunity arose. In July 2013 she transitioned into her current role as Chief Experience Officer for the Engler Program and looks forward to helping build the Engler Experience every day!
391 Plant Science Hall
Dave is passionate about students and how free enterprise can change lives. His background is in business, with degrees in accounting, agriculture, and a Master of Business Administration. His purpose is to help students find their best path through the entrepreneurial process. Dave teaches business plan writing, marketing, and entrepreneurial finance both as resident and distance courses, and the best part of his day is working with students to find solutions to current business issues.
Dave sits on several boards involving food for the future and has research interest in local food production and seasonal crop extension. Dave is co-owner of Cutts Floral Distributing with his wife Terri. The company, a logistics business, moves cut flowers from across the globe to local businesses in Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. They have twin daughters and from them, 11 grandchildren—the other best part of his day!
201 Miller Hall
Brennan Costello's goal is to turn everyone in Nebraska into an advocate for the Engler Program. He is a recent alumni of the program, currently serves as the Chief Business Relations Officer and is having a ball while doing it. In this role Brennan's job is to construct a network of business leaders, leading entrepreneurs, and community supporters the student entrepreneurs can access and tap into. He's working to create partnerships to share ideas, knowledge and expertise to grow the Engler Program, Lincoln area and greater Nebraska. He's in search of student internship opportunities, coaches and mentors, and challenges for students to tackle.
Brennan's also very interested in the ideation process of entrepreneurs and he has been developing an rapid brainstorming formula titled the Idea Storm. He is helping students quickly identify industry pain points, create solutions and learn to think in an entrepreneurial mindset. Brennan also is a certified facilitator for Three Day Startup and travels the country facilitating startup sprints for collegiate students.
Outside of Engler Brennan is a founding partner in FarmAfield, an Agriculture Technology startup focused on reducing business volatility for farmers around the world. In Spring 2016, FarmAfield traveled to Zurich, Switzerland to compete in the Thought for Food Student competition challenge. And in Summer 2016 Brennan and his team where awarded a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Science Foundation.
Brennan grew up raising sheep and working for a local row crop and cattle farmer in Gothenburg, Nebraska. He graduated from the University of Nebraska -Lincoln with a degree in Agribusiness and a Minor in Engler Entrepreneurship and Leadership.
Feeling that Engler fire? Ready to start this journey?