People In The Know

Welcome to ”People in the Know,” a podcast hosted by Ken Root. Join us on a journey where Ken, with his knack for asking pertinent questions, engages with colorful and passionate guests. Prepare for an enjoyable listening experience as we dive into the depths of the human spirit, exploring the lives of those who embrace obscurity and find joy in it. Discover inspiring stories and unique perspectives on ”People in the Know.”

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Friday Dec 15, 2023

Captain Dustin Smith knows sharks.  He, and his customers, fish in the surf off the east coast of Florida.  Day or night, the expeditions into the Atlantic Ocean, take place on shore.  The sharks are tagged and released.  Captain Dustin is concerned about the welfare of sharks and people.  He also dispels some myths about these scary sea creatures.  I was brave enough to ask him questions.  
A remarkable man and wife team who are real "Shark Hunters"      386-235-5573

Friday Dec 08, 2023

A dynamic Kansas Woman has been leading the effort to normalize Hemp as a crop that farmers may grow as an alternative to wheat and other traditional plantings.  Melissa Nelson-Baldwin is a Human Dynamo on a mission.  She farms with her husband and brother in law.  Together, they are this year's Kansas Farm Bureau, Farm Family of the Year.  (that is not an easy title to win)
An update on growing and processing hemp.  It's potential role in the marketplace and the challenges that lie ahead.
She is also a whiz on social media so you can follow her on your own.

Friday Dec 01, 2023

The National Weather Service is viewed with great respect by the public and meteorologists in general.  However, the NWS has failed to forecast recent tornadoes and even snow storms.  What's wrong!
Mike Smith is a highly experienced meteorologist who has written a book that chronicled the work of the service.  He is now questioning the actions of the agency and proposes forming a National (Natural) Disaster Review Board, to investigate.
Informative, intellectual discussion   30 minutes. 

Friday Nov 24, 2023

Emilie Downs is a courageous woman.  She stepped up to lead her brother's company after his untimely death.   Her story of Exapta Solutions and its progress since 2019 but also her faith and good works outside the company.
Underwritten by Concept Hearing 
"Schedule your free hearing screening at Concept by Iowa Hearing - 877-955-4020 or online at"

Friday Nov 17, 2023

Russ Green spent his first career in leadership of farm machinery companies: CNH, AGCO, CLAAS.  Now he is devoting himself to preparing young people to lead.  
Russ through MACKAYBEN has developed a network of “the next generation of ag leaders;” a program directed at maximizing the leadership potential of the next generation millennials who have accepted management roles in their existing businesses. Green emphasized that “Experienced agriculture mentors need to help our young agriculture and food leaders, as they have the daunting task of feeding the world and our future generations”.
A dynamic and inspiring man with a passion for agriculture.  

Saturday Nov 11, 2023

When was the last time you heard of a NEW bank startup?  A year and a half ago, Tut Fuller stepped up to that task.  He knows the business.  He comes from a banking family but he has a dream and determination to change how a bank relates to its customers.
Fuller's bank is called "Capra" and has three locations.  He speaks on several areas of interest:  Status of existing banks.  Interest rates and inflation.  Workers returning to the job market.
Worth a listen.  Half hour.

Thursday Sep 21, 2023

The Friedlein Round Barn was built in 1914.  Current generations of the family restored it.  The barn was on this year's Iowa Barn Tour.  I spoke with the family about how it was built and used for over a hundred years.
I also went pumpkin hunting and found another family (Joyce Thurn, Richard Thurn and Michele VonHandorf) that works together to preserve the past and prepare for the future.  They have 168 varieties of pumpkins for sale at the farm near Edgewood.  The matriarch of the family is eighty-eight and spry enough to take me for a tour of her dahlia's.  From babies to dinner plate size, they will be cut this week for wedding arrangements for her grand daughter.

Tuesday Sep 12, 2023

Very Dry weather in the upper Midwest has caused the flow of the Mississippi River to drop to near record lows.  The result for barge transportation shows up below the locks and dams of the upper river, in the free flowing portion below St. Louis.
Are there alternatives to increase flow in dry conditions?
Can water from lakes on the Missouri be released to float barges on the Mississippi?
Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, speaks to the challenges.

Saturday Sep 02, 2023

Kenneth Quinn ran a gauntlet for his thirty career in the US Foreign Service.  That seemed to prepare him to combine his efforts with Dr Norman Borlaug, Nobel Laureate and father of the Green Revolution.  Quinn was hired to expand the World Food Prize and bring recognition and debate to the challenges of feeding a growing world population.  A remarkable man with an ability to tell his stories with continuity and facts with a dose of humor mixed in.

Friday Aug 25, 2023

Kenneth Quinn did not seem destined for greatness as a young man.  He was born in the Bronx (1942) but his family moved to the Midwest when he was ten years old.  Intelligent, but with few resources, he worked and lived at home to gain a degree from Loras Collage in Dubuque, Iowa.
After college, he worked in a packing plant with the hope of becoming a lawyer.  Without enough money to take the LSAT, he found he could stand for the U.S. Foreign Service Exam, for free, but with almost no chance of passing the test or getting a job.  He did, but but was posted to Vietnam in the 1960's.
Under fire, Quinn, as a civilian, began to distinguish himself and show leadership skills.  He cheated death several times.  His life lessons began to converge with those of Dr. Norman Borlaug but it took almost forty years for the two men to join forces. This podcast is abut Quinn's amazing career before helping found the World Food Prize in Des Moines.  He is a story teller, par excellence. 

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