Erik is a down-right, true-blue American hero. He spends his nine-to-fives in one of the world’s largest distribution centers, within a company all American heroes are familiar with – John Deere.
John Deere is the largest agricultural machinery manufacturer in the world. Their slogan, “Nothing runs like a Deere,” is backed by 175 years of business experience… and a whole lot of country song shout-outs.
BOJ was lucky enough to spend some time discussing John Deere with Erik, but it was hard to stay focused on anything other than his beard… Damn!
BOJ: How did you become interested in working for an agricultural, construction and forestry equipment company? Did tractors and seed drills always get you excited?
EM: It didn’t happen until I was an intern in college. I hadn’t realized how exceptional John Deere was until I started to understand that a company having charged itself with “feeding, clothing and sheltering the world” is going to have an incredible relationship with everyone they touch. Plus, green is my color.
BOJ: What is your role with John Deere?
EM: I forecast the parts usage/sales for construction equipment, specifically excavators. I work in World-wide Parts Distribution, one of the worlds largest distribution centers.
BOJ: Is everything at work green and yellow?
EM: Every hall, door, and bathroom! Actually, John Deere has a good amount of business selling John Deere Green and John Deere Yellow paint to customers that are cleaning up their machines at the end of the season.
BOJ: What is your favorite piece of John Deere machinery?
EM: Anything from the “Gator” line. Those things are ridiculously fun to use.
As demonstrated by this dog…
BOJ: How would you describe John Deere customers?
EM: Agriculture will see a lot of families, and those are the people that are most vocal about how much they like the company. Construction, turf, and forestry product customers are mostly business owners that can range from construction companies to golf courses. Mostly, the customers are people who are using our machines to create value in their own way.
BOJ: What kinds of events does John Deere sponsor? …Sounds like a company that knows how to have a good ole’ fashioned, rip roaring’ time.
EM: Always! The PGA comes out to Moline, IL for the John Deere Classic every year, and there are a lot of other big events. The best ones are the smaller events that work with the local organizations to get things like school money and food to the right places and the right people.
BOJ: How important is 175 years of history to the John Deere culture?
EM: It’s ironic, really. Many of the employees, customers and suppliers are old school, but the history of John Deere revolves around innovation and new products. Anyone involved in John Deere will say that progress is a team effort and lasting 175 years only works if you know you’re part of something bigger than yourself.
BOJ: What is something most people don’t know about John Deere?
EM: John Deere has such a deep concern with developing crop availability that a portion of the staff went to farmers in Africa and designed a foot-powered water-pump that drastically increased their output. Now, those farmers have more money to send their kids to school and get an education.