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Mapping successful careers.

Jerry McLeod has worked in the agricultural equipment industry for nearly 30 years. He worked for Case Corporation for nearly 20 years in various field and management positions before joining AGCO Corporation in 1997. He is currently vice president of sales, Ag Chem Division.

AM: How did you become interested in the agriculture industry?

JM: My father was an International Harvester dealer in western Canada, and I grew up around implement and car dealerships. Every job I had through high school and college was in a dealership, so it was a natural progression to stay in the industry. After college I took a detour into banking, but when an opportunity with a major farm equipment manufacturer came along, I couldn't wait to make the change.

AM: What are the key stops you have made in your career path?

JM: I started my career with J.I. Case in western Canada. There, I held sales management positions in Canada and the United States, last as director of ag sales operations.

In 1997 I joined Willmar Manufacturing and was first exposed to application equipment as vice president of sales and marketing. Shortly after I joined, the company was acquired by AGCO Corporation. With the exception of serving approximately two years with the Massey Ferguson equipment brand, I've been actively involved in AGCO's Application Division as vice president of sales.

AM: What is your advice to achieve success in this industry?

JM: First, get a good education. Nothing beats having a broad understanding of our industry. Coming from a farm background is great, but if that's not possible, there are still opportunities in agriculture.

Second, try to learn as much as you can about your position and be prepared to try something new. Being well rounded in the early stages of a career will make you a better manager as you advance through the ranks.

Third, choose an organization that has a genuine interest in you. At AGCO we hire college graduates and put them into accelerated training programs to expose them to a wide range of work situations. Find a company that cares about you and you will be much happier and more successful.

AM: Is this the direction you originally thought your career path would take?

JM: I don't think I ever had a preconceived notion of where I should be at any particular point in my life. I've treated every move in my career as an opportunity. By living all over the continent, I've learned a lot, met really good people and exposed my family to opportunities that they might never have experienced. I have done every job to the best of my ability, and based on where I started and where I've ended up, I'm happy with the course my life has taken.

Ken Anderson spent 12 years as a farm broadcaster with KRVN Radio. In 1989 he joined NC+ Hybrids as communications manager and later was promoted to marketing manager. In 2004 Anderson joined David & Associates as an account executive.

AM: How did you become interested in the agriculture industry?

KA: I grew up on a farm in South Dakota, but I knew early on I didn't want to be a farmer. In fact, I didn't plan to work in agriculture at all. However, my first job was in farm broadcasting, and I have worked in the ag industry ever since. I'm glad it turned out this way.

AM: What are the key stops you have made in your career path?

KA: I haven't made a lot of stops, so they have all been important to me.

My 12 years in farm broadcasting helped me refine my communications skills. My 15 years in the seed business gave me intensive marketing communications experience. My latest stop is on the agency side of the business with David & Associates. Here I am utilizing all of my previous experience, plus learning more every day about client service and successful business partnerships.

AM: What is your advice to achieve success in this industry?

KA: Getting involved in NAMA is one of the keys. The things you learn, the people you meet and the leadership experience you can acquire through NAMA participation are incredible. Another piece of advice I give young people is to refine their communications skills. The ability to write and speak clearly and concisely is important no matter what you do. Another key to success in agribusiness is staying in touch with the ag producer. With farming changing so rapidly, it really is a continuing education process.

AM: Is this the direction you originally thought your career path would take?

KA: No, I couldn't have predicted where I am today. As you go down your career path, doors of opportunity open on each side. When they do, you must decide whether to pass through them or stay the course. My only career goal is to enjoy what I do and to give it my all. I have been fortunate to work for good companies that have allowed me to hone my skills and expand my horizons.
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Title Annotation:AG CAREERS & UNIVERSITIES; Jerry McLeod
Publication:Agri Marketing
Article Type:Interview
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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