Awards, Earthmoving News

John Deere recognises service technicians

Terang-based Sarah Lewis, Roseworthy-based Jaymee Ireland and Wingfield’s Max O’Brien have been recognised at John Deere’s annual technicians awards

Construction and Forestry Techician of the Year Max O’Brien with John Deere director of sales and marketing C&F Kel Davison

“Sales [representatives] are responsible for the first sale, but technicians are responsible for the second, third and fourth sales.”

It was the line of the night – uttered by John Deere Australia managing director Luke Chandler during his opening address at the John Deere Technician Awards last Friday night in Brisbane.

That phrase was uttered several more times throughout the duration of the awards, as John Deere made it a clear prerogative to showcase the pivotal role technicians play in the agricultural, earthmoving, and forestry industries across Australia and New Zealand.

The event saw hundreds of technicians, apprentices and dealers, along with their respective businesses and families, converge on the W Brisbane to recognise and celebrate the very best Deere has to offer.

Chandler also made a point of emphasising how the aftermarket talent emerging through John Deere’s ranks gave him faith in the future of the industry – and the evening’s eight award winners also showed how much it meant to be recognised among their contemporaries.

In the construction and forestry stakes, which John Deere director for aftermarket and customer support Emma Ford says was the most hotly contested category of the night, it was Max O’Brien who emerged on top.

O’Brien is a construction technician for RDO Equipment in Wingfield, South Australia, and was announced the winner as one of the only technicians to excel in the diagnostic task across both construction and forestry equipment.

Such was the tight competition for the construction and forestry award that the panel of judges required extra time to adjudicate the winner.

“Construction and forestry customers rely on our machinery and uptime is critical in both of these markets,” John Deere director for sales and marketing C&F Kel Davison said when announcing the award.

“Machines out of action not only affect the parts of the machine but tasks also down the line.”

“Keeping the products operational is of great importance and the C&F technicians are instrumental in this activity,” he added.

Parts Techician of the Year (Australia) Sarah Lewis with John Deere aftermarket marketing manager Mike Wilkins

It was a sentiment echoed by Sarah Lewis, who was ultimately named as John Deere’s Parts Technician of the Year.

Lewis, from Brandt’s Terang branch in western Victoria, said she was humbled to be recognised for her diagnostic abilities of agricultural parts.

“As a parts technician, each day I am supporting customers by giving them confidence they are receiving the right parts as timely as possible for their operation,” she says.

“This ensures their operation can be up and running 24-hours a day.

“With this award, I feel my skillset in supplying parts has been recognised as being among the best in the country, and I feel so proud to be able to showcase the unique skills and talents of parts techs through this competition.”

Lewis was one of two women to claim major awards on the night, with 22-year-old service technician Jaymee Ireland winning the coveted Australian Ag Service Technician of the Year.

Ag Service Techician of the Year Jaymee Ireland with John Deere director for aftermarket and customer support Emma Ford

Ireland, who was first exposed to the agricultural industry when riding on her grandad’s sugarcane harvester as a child, also emphasised the vital service technicians provide across the industries.

“I think our job is very important,” she says, “we need to keep our farmers farming.”

“If their machine breaks down and they can’t fix it, then they can’t get their crop off or they can seed, they can’t plough. We need to make sure we can fix their machines in time to keep everything running.”

Ireland also says the continual evolution of the technology within the industry has altered what is required from technicians on the job.

“It has definitely evolved a lot. We have other technicians at our dealership who have been there for over 20 years and the technology that is coming in has changed a lot and is more technical,” she said.

“There’s always something new to learn and John Deere is always bringing out something new. There is always training too though so we always get a lot of support from John Deere on their machines.”

Award winners were selected from over 100 nominations across Australia and New Zealand. From that, 35 regional finalists were tested across customer service skills, tool utilisation and a practical diagnostic.

The finalists were judged by 22 assessors against 105 criteria.

2022 John Deere Technician Award Winners

Parts Apprentice of the Year

Mitchell Channer, AFGRI Equipment

Service Apprentice of the Year

Logan Robertson, Southland Farm Machinery (New Zealand)

Parts Technician of the Year

Sarah Lewis, Brandt (Australia)

Megan Tree, Southland Farm Machinery (New Zealand)

Turf Technician of the Year

Adam Kent, Brandt

Construction & Forestry Technician of the Year

Max O’Brien, RDO Equipment

Ag Service Technician of the Year

Jaymee Ireland, Emmetts (Australia)

Greg Bishop, Southland Farm Machinery (New Zealand)

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