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Q&A: Meet Joey Aguirre, Managing Editor at Clay & Milk.

It was announced yesterday that Joey Aguirre will step into the role of Managing Editor at Clay & Milk. It seemed fitting that my last Q&A as the interim editor be with the new individual taking over this position as his full-time career.

I sat down across from Joey at the high top tables in Gravitate and we talked about real American heroes like Chuck Klosterman, The Chainsmokers and Derek Jeter. This holy trinity of conversation automatically gives him an A+ in my book.

While I’ve only just met Joey, his passion for his craft and interest in the industry of storytelling is the right fit for the role. I couldn’t be happier to hand over these reigns and watch what he will create.

Clay & Milk: I get super pissed when people mispronounce my last name. How do you pronounce yours? 

Joey Aguirre: A-Gear-E. I’ve heard so many different variations of my last name it’s unreal. The most embarrassing moment came my freshman year in high school after I had just made the varsity baseball team. In my first at bat, the stadium announcer thought the G in Aguirre was actually a Q. I’ve never had that mistake happen again, thank goodness, but every once in awhile those guys from that team will remind me of that time.

CM: While this may be your first managing editor role, it’s not your first rodeo when it comes to journalism. Would you share a bit of your career backstory?

JA: Technically I started writing for The Van Buren County Register during my junior and senior years of high school, when I would write the weekly recap of our basketball and baseball games. In college I was the sports editor of The Grand Views for two years and after graduating from Grand View University in April of 2013, I went to work for The Storm Lake Times. In July of 2014 I started at The Hawk Eye in Burlington as the Education/Health beat reporter. After two years I was fortunate enough to start working for The Des Moines Register in August of 2016, covering breaking news and general assignment stories.  

CM: Although only on the job officially 1.5 days, what’s surprised you most so far?

JA: I’m blown away by how much is happening in the startup community here in Des Moines but also across the state of Iowa. I had no idea all this was happening but I’m excited to tell everyone about it. This doesn’t need to be a secret.

CM: If you had a dream interview, who would it be with and why?

JA: Great question. I’d say Derek Jeter, the ultimate winner. He was my idol on a baseball field growing up so I’d like to get some insight into certain moments, his work ethic, how he views winning/losing and what it was like going from Michigan to the bright lights of Yankee Stadium and New York City.

CM: Do you have a role model in this field? Writing, tech or otherwise? What’s the best piece of advice you have received and from whom?

JA: I’ve always tried to take pieces from each of my former bosses and use those to become the best version of myself. Whether it was my college basketball coach at Grand View or Art Cullen at The Storm Lake Times. I’ve learned that to have what others don’t have, you’ve got to do what others won’t do.

Also, during my high school graduation our speaker Mr. Russell told us to, “Not fry bacon naked.”

CM: What are you doing when you’re not in this role?

JA: I coach high school basketball at Carlisle High School and I’m about to start my second year of graduate school at Drake University in the Communication Leadership program. I like working out and sweating too. Other than that I’m a pretty lowkey guy.

CM: What did you want to be when you were a kid?

JA: It kind of evolved as I got older but from what I remember I wanted to be a fighter pilot, baseball or basketball player, skateboarder, basketball coach, President of the USA, actor, professional video gamer or public address announcer at sporting events.  

CM: Music. What’s your type? What’s the name of your favorite Spotify playlist?

JA: I just named my Spotify playlist “Joey” and throw all the good songs into that one playlist. It’s full of everything but one thing is for certain: If you press play on that playlist, only good songs will be heard.

CM: What does Clay & Milk success look like to you?

JA: Obviously we can look at metrics and various social media platforms to see how large our audience is but success for me is making the C&M brand a known commodity. With this being such a new publication, not many people know about it. So my goal is to make Clay & Milk known for being the place to go to find out about startups, entrepreneurs or technology in Iowa and across the Midwest. If I can walk up to someone and say, “I’m Joey from Clay & Milk” and that person knows who I represent, then I’ve done my job.

About Joey Aguirre
Age: 25
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Twitter handle@TheRealJoeyA

Jami Milne was the interim managing editor of Clay & Milk. But she likely won’t totally disappear. Send her an email at

1 Comment

  • Lewis Russell
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Great stuff Joey! Mr. Russell always has great

Comments are closed.

Q&A: Meet Joey Aguirre, Managing Editor at Clay & Milk. | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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