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technology precision specialists to go a little further with support. “We’re just starting to get into re- mote services where we can actually tap into that customer’s monitor from our office. The precision tech’s sales role may change as our customers get into iPhones and iPads. It may be that the monitor in the tractor is just a dum- my monitor until you load a planter app onto it or sprayer app onto it. We ask a lot of our precision specialists because we have so many relationships with different suppliers out there.”

Gittins: “The essential pieces for us are a high level of under- standing of electronics or the ability to adapt to it. Are they using email? Are they comfortable operating a comput- er? Those would be a pretty quick in- dicator of someone I was interviewing for a technical role. If they’re not comfortable running a computer, they’re not going to be comfortable running the equipment we work with. I believe you can train someone on just about anything if they are willing to learn. I’ll look for a willingness to adapt to change because that’s the one certainty we have in this industry.

are not the same things we do today. They are not going to be the same things

we do in another five years…

“Things we did five years ago are ”

not the same things we do today. They are not going to be the same things we do in another five years. If you can find someone who is willing to adapt to change and likes to work with elec- tronics, those are critical parts of what

Things we did five years ago

we do because in five years it might not be hardware sales that carries our business forward. In five years, data management could be a lot bigger portion of our business because of the way it is changing so quickly and the ability to add wireless to so many of these devices and move the data back and forth quicker and easier. There is more and more data each year, not less. It’s just one more thing that needs to be managed now.”

Kennelly: “Our precision spe- cialists don’t necessarily have

one department where they fit because when they’re working on tractors with guidance systems, they’re working very closely with the service depart- ment. When they’re selling products, they’re working with the parts and wholegoods departments. “So, we really need someone who

works together well with all depart- ments to service and sell precision farming equipment. Having the correct people skills and a teamwork mentality is very important.

“As precision farming continues to become more and more important to a grower’s business, the precision farm- ing specialist will have to be able to be a coach to the customer on not only what products they purchase but how to use those products. So it’s not just the deal- er they bought their auto-steer system from, it’s their precision coach they go to when they have a precision question or need direction. The precision special- ist will be a part of their operation in a way that he never has been before. “Ultimately, the precision special- ist is going to have to be more agron- omy-minded because they are part of the customer’s operation. Precision really goes back to how we can make things more efficient for the custom- er; how we can minimize inputs and maximize yield using precision farm- ing equipment.”

Draude: “I started having this issue a couple years ago — find-

ing the right help for the amount of ter- ritory we cover with the right amount of knowledge. We’re looking for some-


one who can comprehend the technol- ogy and what it takes to service it. But with precision, it’s changing every six months with new firmware, new moni- tors and new controllers. You’re never going to get a leg up on it because as soon as you’ve figured it out, a new product is ready to come out.

for someone who can comprehend the technology and what it takes to service it…

“The thing that has really made us stand out is we do a lot of beta work for a lot of companies. We do a lot of research for a lot of companies and that lets us get experience before the products hit the market. This is how we’ve really been able to set ourselves apart when hiring people. We can get ahead of the competition a year or two before they even know what’s going to hit the market. “But we need to get these people and see who has the knowledge, who can comprehend it. On our side, a resume is usually the last thing I look at. The last three people I hired, I didn’t ask to see a resume because I knew their back- ground, what they’ve done, how they interact with people and what products they know. Show me what you can do in front of a customer. “That’s where we’ve used the colleg- es in our area to be able to hand-choose the people our customers like because we’ve seen how they interact with them. We get feedback from our customers and then go through the system and make sure it was all done correctly. “It’s been a longer process, but with the slower months, with myself and some of the other technicians be- ing so close with some of the colleges, we’ve been able to work with them on a weekly or monthly basis as it fits with our schedule, and with theirs.”

” We’re looking

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