“I don’t know where we would be without Deb’s dedication. During some of our more challenging times, there did not appear to be a lot of future prospects for anyone retiring from the IAC. Deb was one of a handful of folks who helped hold things together and then grow the organization into what it is today. The folks we all get to work with owe her a debt of gratitude, as do all of us still here at the IAC. Thank you very much for all you have done for Indian Country Agriculture – it is appreciated far more than my words can express.” IAC Executive Director – Zach Ducheneaux “Deb is leaving some big shoes to fill. We appreciate her diligence and persistence to ensure checks and balances throughout the years; her dedication shining through the most in the lean years. We won’t take her blood, sweat and tears for granted. I hope her retirement dreams come true! She’s definitely earned it!” IAC Director of Finance and Operations – Donita Fischer.
Deb's Story of Service . . . When Deb Cellmer graduated from high school, her gift from her parents was a manual typewriter. It turns out those keys helped establish the foundation towards her success serving IAC since 1993. Cellmer concluded her service with IAC after 27 years last week. She did so with her hands on the computer keys, this time, engaging in IAC’s first ever Virtual Conference. Cellmer was more interested in helping during the busy week last week than drawing any attention to herself – but now we are placing her center-stage as we honor her for nearly three decades of service. The youngest of seven children, Cellmer grew up on the family farm and ranch in Northeastern Montana. Eight of her formative years were spent in a one-room schoolhouse. Growing up, she was involved in 4-H and other community activities. Cellmer later attended Dawson Community College where she earned an Associates Degree in Business Administration and continued on to attend Eastern Montana College, now Montana State University (MSU), where she achieved her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and Information Systems. Cellmer’s history with IAC begins with a busy mom seeking an income to care for her family, “I went to work for a temporary company and was sent to IAC to fill a position for a time. After I worked at IAC for a couple months, they advertised the position I was filling in for and I applied and was chosen.” “One of the things I will always remember is back when we did annual meetings and the Tribes in the region hosted. They would have tours the last day of the annual meeting. I think that helped make a real connection with the work we were doing, being able to see for yourself both the needs and successes,” she recalled. Cellmer said while technology has changed a lot, many of the fundamentals have remained the same. She poked a bit of fun about keeping up with changes when she said, “I had to grin the other day when we go the email from Zach saying he was not using a Mac computer anymore. Because when I first started at IAC, we were guided to use Mac computers. Then we got away from them and went to the Windows based system. Then a couple years ago IAC went back to strictly Macs again.” Being nimble enough to change and good-natured and committed along the way, are attributes Cellmer has consistently brought to the table. Those attributes, along with her agricultural roots and so much more, made Cellmer a great addition to IAC. Now she looks forward to, “Mostly time with kids and grandkids and maybe if COVID gets over I will travel around to see more of the United States.” Despite the excitement that comes with retirement, Cellmer said she will miss her true friends at her work home away from home, “The IAC office was very small for a lot of years. It has been a family. You saw the same people every day for a long time and gained a sense of fitting in. The biggest thing was seeing there was a difference being made and working towards something that means something.” “I don’t have many words of wisdom,” Cellmer said in closing. “My dad always said, ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing right.’ That is a philosophy we were raised with. So, I always tried to do that. I know the IAC team will carry the ball forward. There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears at IAC by the board members and staff already. I am sure that it will be carried forward with perseverance and resilience. It has been wonderful.”