Marketing matters to this farm girl
Growing up, John Deere was a company that Kelsey Faivre was familiar with just like every farm kid that likes green tractors.
But she left her ties to the green machines when she went to college. She found public relations and marketing appealed to her as an agricultural communications major. Kelsey had aspirations of getting a job in marketing with an ag-related company. It wasn’t long before her strong skillsets led her to employment and reconnected her to John Deere as part of their marketing team.
“John Deere is a good fit for me,” said Kelsey. “After spending time working with everything from precision ag equipment and combines to commercial mowers and utility tractors, I’ve found there is a lot to be passionate about around John Deere equipment.”
Kelsey started as a marketing representative in East Moline, IL at the Harvester Works facility supporting the launch of the new S700 combine through the development of sales tools for John Deere dealers. Then she was transferred to Orlando, FL to train dealers on the restyled 3E compact tractors.
In the spring of this year she became a Dealer Development Specialist to help manage and support their dealer channel based out of the John Deere Marketing Headquarters in Olathe, KS.
“John Deere encourages employees to be diversified and grow with experiences,” said Kelsey. “The opportunity to work in Dealer Development arose so I took it. With my new role, I can continue to use my marketing skills.”
Kelsey beams with excitement over her job of two years, but then chuckles because her father, Roger, would never have expected her to be working for the company he gets his farm equipment from. That’s because when Kelsey was younger she showed little interest in the grain side of farming. Instead, raising beef cattle was her love. She was busy taking care of her cattle, being active in FFA, forensics, and other things in high school. She didn’t drive tractors like her brother; she was a weekend rider in the buddy seat next to her parents.
“I surprised myself by the acumen of everything I know about farm equipment, even though I had little experience. But I found that once you drive one tractor they are all about the same. I actually prefer to drive the large tractors, like the 9 series,” said Kelsey. As part of her marketing job, she test drives John Deere tractors.
Now, on an occasional visit back home to the family farm in DeKalb, Kelsey drives one of their tractors. She graduated from DeKalb High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in ag communications from Iowa State University.
Since college, Kelsey says the last few years have “gone by in a flash.” She has moved four times with John Deere, been trained in a variety of jobs, and has learned so much.
“The roles I have served in have challenged me to grow as a person and as an employee, and it has been rewarding to see the impact of my work on the company.”
“Our dealers and customers are hardworking salt-of-the earth people with remarkable businesses. I get to work for them and represent amazing equipment and technologies,” Kelsey said.
Kelsey Faivre, 23
Dealer Development Specialist
She supports and manages relationships with John Deere dealer channels. She is based out of the John Deere Marketing Headquarters in Olathe, KS.
Resides in Kansas City, KS
Hometown – DeKalb
Globally he serves those linked to the land
Working for a global company, David Gilmore travels internationally representing the Financial Services Division of John Deere.
He’s been to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Germany, China, India, Brazil, and Russia, among other countries interfacing with John Deere dealers and customers as a provider of financial products and services.
As Senior Vice President of Financial Global Marketing & Sales, David says he is part of John Deere’s higher purpose of “serving those linked to the land.” He engages with agricultural and construction customers around the world to understand equipment and financing needs to make their operations more efficient.
“Our employees are actively participating in increasing the capacity to feed, fuel and provide infrastructure solutions to a growing global population,” said David.
“Whether in the U.S. or other parts of the world, I enjoy playing a role in meeting our customer and John Deere dealer needs. Every day is a different one and I enjoy the variety of work I do,” he said.
David has been with Deere & Company for 28 years. He joined them shortly after receiving his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois. For most of his career he was with the ag and turf division in product support, sales and marketing, and global harvest marketing. The last seven years have been in financial services with John Deere Financial.
Looking back, David didn’t anticipate working for Deere because through most of his college years the company was not hiring due to the farm crisis. But he was hired and it’s been a stellar career for him. “It’s been a great opportunity for me and my family. It has allowed me to stay connected to agriculture,” he said.
Growing up on a farm in rural Shabbona provided David with the basis for a good work ethic. He shares his farm experiences with fellow employees and correlates farming and John Deere tractors to fundamental things. He tells newer employees that he worked and drove tractors with his father and grandfather. As a farm boy, he recalls how one day his grandfather taught him how to plow in a straight line on a John Deere 4440.
“You drive the way you view the future, looking ahead toward a target,” said David. “What develops you as a person are your experiences. Just like plowing in a straight line, it helps to be grounded today and aligned to the future.”
The Senior Vice President currently shares his work time between the global headquarters of Financial Services in Des Moines, IA, the world headquarters in Moline, IL, and internationally in North America, South and Central America.
“I never dreamt that I would have an opportunity to travel and work in so many different parts of the world, but I am grateful for the chance that John Deere has given me,” said David.
“I’m passionate about working for John Deere. The best part is participating daily in John Deere’s higher purpose ‘serving those linked to the land.’ Our company provides global solutions and services for those that grow food and build infrastructure.”
David Gilmore, 50
Senior Vice President Financial Global Marketing & Sales
He represents the Financial Services Division of Deere & Company and is responsible for global marketing and sales function and financial services in North America, Central and South America, and Australia/New Zealand.
Resides in Geneseo with wife, Lori, and has two college-aged children, Kyle & Caitlin
Hometown – Shabbona
Family of engineers maintain farm interest
The Kleins were all driven to be engineers. Yet they remain grounded in agriculture through their work at John Deere and interest in their family’s farm.
Mark, Lee, Beth and Anne Klein of rural Hinckley chose the engineering career path with two in manufacturing engineering and the other two in mechanical engineering. The boys went to Northern Illinois University while the girls attended the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. The youngest, Anne, is a senior at UW-Platteville.
At the colleges’ career fairs they were introduced to John Deere, interviewed and were hired to be part of the engineering team. Mark, Lee and Beth are based at the Waterloo, IA Tractor Works plant while Anne is an intern near Moline, IL home to John Deere’s Harvester Works.
Mark’s job is to test and design axles and transmissions on large agricultural tractors. Being a product engineer, he works with three different sites in Waterloo – the Foundry, Drive Train Operations and Product Engineering Center – on the Series 6-9 tractors. He interfaces with people on the line, in testing, engineering and marketing. “It’s exciting to see prototypes before they are adopted and used in the field,” said Mark who has been with Deere & Company for five years.
“I like being in the forefront of the farming industry with my job at John Deere,” notes Lee. “I enjoy seeing the finished product come off the line,” he says with a sense of accomplishment. As a manufacturing engineer for two years, he oversees the assembly line, sets up tooling and has oversight on safety and quality standards. He works on axles and chassis at various Waterloo sites.
Beth appreciates having a wide variety of opportunities as a design engineer and new employee this year at John Deere. In the Engineering Development Program, she will do three rotations in design, testing and manufacturing. After two years Beth will decide which direction to go with the company. “It’s a good opportunity to use my engineering degree in different positions to see what I want to do. I’ve learned a lot and like the people I work with,” said Beth.
Anne has started her summer internship with John Deere, based out of the Parts Distribution Center in Milan, IL near Moline. She has one year of college to go but already has her eyes on a future with John Deere.
The close-knit Klein siblings talk the engineering talk and oftentimes finish each other’s sentences as they think alike and share so many interests, including their ties to the family farm. They return home from their John Deere jobs to help their parent’s farm, especially in the spring and fall. “We’re always helping with something when we come home – picking up rocks, cleaning fence lines, planting corn and soybeans and harvest,” said Beth.
“Working on the farm was never a chore because I was working with my best friends – my siblings,” said Anne, the youngest. The Klein siblings, 6th generation farmers, have fond memories of working side-by-side with their grandparents on their family’s Centennial Farm and of course driving tractors.
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of John Deere tractors. John Deere Waterloo Works is hosting a celebration at the museum located in downtown Waterloo in June. The Kleins will be attending the commemorative event in support of their engineering connection and farm roots.
Mark Klein, 26
Drivetrain Product Engineer
He designs and tests axles and transmissions on large tractors at the Product Engineering Center in Waterloo, IA.
Resides in Waterloo, IA, with wife, Marie
Hometown – Hinckley
Lee Klein, 24
He assembles large tractors at the Drivetrain Operations building in Waterloo, IA.
Resides in Waterloo, IA
Hometown – Hinckley
Beth Klein, 23
She works as a design engineer for large tractors at the Product Engineering Center in Waterloo, IA.
Resides in Waterloo, IA.
Hometown – Hinckley
Anne Klein, 21
Manufacturing Engineer Intern
She is an intern at the Parts Distribution Center in Milan, IL.
Resides in Moline, IL for the summer
Hometown – Hinckley
He’s particular about John Deere paint
John Deere Green and Ag Yellow are trademark paint colors for the entire line of farm and construction equipment. As a paint manufacturing engineer for John Deere, Aaron Russell will tell you there’s more to the paint than meets the eye.
“Painting world-class equipment is a much more complicated process than anyone would expect,” said Aaron. “Many don’t think about the painting part of John Deere equipment.”
Aaron provides engineering support at the John Deere Ottumwa Works factory in Ottumwa, Iowa. He works closely with employees on the paint line who see that parts are cleaned, pretreated and ready for the application of paint. The key is making sure that the paint properly adheres to the equipment.
“Our goal is for the paint to be long-lasting as the equipment may be used by several different customers down the line,” he explained.
Aaron admits he knew very little about paint until he got the job at John Deere two years ago. Now he has oversight of the John Deere Green and Ag Yellow paint used on hay balers and forage equipment at the Ottumwa factory. His previous experience and training was working in East Moline, IL at the John Deere Harvester Works plant.
His engineering role at Ottumwa is to provide support to the painting processes as a manufacturing engineer. With more company experience, he hopes to become an engineering supervisor someday.
The paint manufacturing engineer says he likes his job at Deere. “There’s something so rewarding about working for a company with a brand that is so iconic and elicits such a strong response from people.” He knows that farmers are particularly fond of their John Deere tractors and equipment. Both sets of Aaron’s grandparents farmed in rural Waterman.
Aaron is a graduate of DeKalb High School and earned a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois.
At the college’s career fair, Aaron stopped by the John Deere booth but didn’t think there was opportunity there. “What would John Deere want with a chemical engineer?” he asked himself. “They typically hire mechanical engineers.” Soon he learned that his credentials were valuable to the company’s global paint team.
“If someone had told me my senior year that I would be working for John Deere I wouldn’t have believed them,” said Aaron. “During school I was honestly interested in working for a food processing company, but instead I work for the company responsible for producing the crops that a lot of our food is made from!”
Aaron Russell, 24