MN Tech Mag | Fall/Winter 2022


SunStream’s transformation is well underway and is tracking toward completion in 2025 – or even sooner! “Everybody thinks I’m a bit pushy, but we’re figuring out how to get there! With our focus on technology, we aim to standardize the things our customers don’t want to deal with in the back office and make them more efficient and faster, so our customers can do the needful for farmers and ranchers,” shares Ritch.


Our customers are focused directly on the farmers and ranchers. We need to be the trusted partner to their back end systems. We like to say we’ve got your back (office). “

With a lofty goal in place, Dan focuses on communication and equipping the team to get the job done right. “As we’re in the middle of a transformation, IT is not only transforming our business; it will transform our people. They’re building new skills and getting stronger at what they do,” Ritch expresses. Dan’s goal is to see his team learn from their experience at SunStream and be prepared to take the next step as a leader, whatever that might be. “That’s the goal of a good leader – if I can build more leaders, then I’ve done a good job,” states Ritch. Getting the team to the next level takes time, transparency, and consistent communication. “I think I probably spend 60%, if not 70%, of my time in communicating through one-on-ones, coaching, and guiding,” estimates Ritch. “I think that’s the CEO role – it’s not to hold everyone in, but to help people get where they need to be,” he summarizes. Dan’s emphasis on transparency and collaboration is evident throughout the SunStream office. Using every window in his office as a makeshift whiteboard, Dan is quick to share the vision for the organization, and his enthusiasm is contagious. As a result, the team continues to grow, evolve, and win together.

Building and executing a transformation agenda is no small task. Dan approached the initiative by going on a “Listen & Learn Tour” during his first quarter in the new role. “I traveled to customers to learn how they run their business and discover their core mission and issues. Then I brought those findings back and spoke with every single employee at SunStream to start picking up themes,” explains Ritch. “At the end of the day, it’s the people who make things happen – the Listen & Learn Tour helped me absorb and collaboratively figure out the right approach,” he adds. Ultimately, Dan sees the transformation as successful if the organization can change the experience for both customers and internal team members – making it easier for customers to work with SunStream and making internal teams more effective in getting the job done.

Productive People HABITS OF


BOLSTERING SUNSTREAM’S TECHNOLOGY With the customer in mind, Dan realized the need for SunStream to perform at a higher level to help its customers reach their desired state. “We needed to improve – we were on older systems with older processes, so there’s a gap. We’re all on the same mission to help farmers and ranchers, but we need to upgrade systems and instill new skills to take us to the next level,” Ritch declares. To achieve these goals, Dan is helping the organization transform and be the preeminent managed service provider in the Farm Credit System by:

WHAT TIME DO YOU GO TO SLEEP? 10:00 pm WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE UP? 4:30 am HOW DO YOU START YOUR DAY? Reading articles. I’ve been trying to read a lot of articles on coaching and team management lately. WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU DO AT WORK? I like to walk around the office and catch up with people or reach out virtually on Teams. Then I write down all my major to-dos for the day and try to finish them.

ABOUT SUNSTREAM SunStream Business Services is a service entity that provides top-notch customer experience, delivers work in a highly efficient and predictable manner, and inspires innovation and creativity in its solutions. SunStream equips customers with the financial services necessary to support rural communities. Their motto is, “Our customers take care of rural America and trust us to take care of the rest!”

Building a world-class team Stabilizing, securing, and modernizing core platforms Investing in customer success Focusing on value and embracing agility in project delivery Strengthening financial management and controls Growing the business

14 | Leading Through Transparency

Leading Through Transparency | 15

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