No, it's not a joke, gimmick or Saturday Night Live spoof—although as the director of marketing, any opportunity to tell our story is welcomed.
First installed in Lake City, Minnesota in 1999, waterbeds for cows have forever changed the meaning of "cow comfort" in the dairy world.
The waterbed's function for a dairy cow is similar to a hospital air mattress for patients. The air mattress provides the necessary movement of a human's skin to prevent bed sores. Waterbeds provide a similar moo-vement for dairy cows who lay down up to 14 hours a day. The surface of a waterbed is natural rubber belting that is durable, flexible and textured. The moo-vement of the rubber does not become abrasive on the cow's skin and maintains a dry surface.
I've listened to my dad tell the waterbed story for ten years around the dining room table while addressing mailings to farmers and discussing milk prices.
He has 2 excellent sales men, a network of local dealers around the world and three hard-working associates in the office supporting outside sales efforts (led by my mom).
The growing demand for waterbeds for cows has placed a new need on the company. For the previous 11 years, the company has needed support in selling and installing waterbeds across the country and, increasingly, around the world.
There is a solid foundation built on the best man-made stall surface in the dairy industry available and quality customer service. I will add: developing the international distribution network, establishing an online presence, publishing articles in trade magazines and journals, understanding dairy organizations and how we can become better involved in their mission, and working with universities and testing organizations interested in doing waterbed related studies.
The company is at a pivotal point in growth and, working closely with and supporting my dad, we will move waterbeds for cows along even further.
I quit a comfortable and, in many respects, perfect government job. I supported a project I believed in for an agency I deeply respect.
So why leap?
Put simply: Waterbeds & all the possibilities that surround the business wake me up at night (with excitement!).
The chance to use the skills I've learned during my years as a development, nonprofit and government employee to propel my parents' company to the next chapter is an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
If they are right when they say, "If you love what you do you'll never work a day in your life," then I just stopped working for good.