June 5, 2018

Dealer Panel

Panelists will offer their thoughts on how shortline manufacturers can remain on dealers lots during this climate of mergers and acquisitions, then field questions from the audience. The dealer panel will take place on Thursday from 10:30-11:45 am.

Scott Beach, Grinnell Implement Store

Scott Beach is store manager at Grinnell Implement Store in Grinnell, Iowa, a Case IH dealer and family-owned operation. Beach also served as technician, salesman, and service manager.


Jim Wood, Rocky Mountain Equipment

Jim was appointed chief sales and operations officer at Rocky Mountain Equipment, which is focused primarily on CNH brands. It operates 37 dealerships across three Canadian provinces. Rocky Mountain launched in 2012 to consolidate a number of brands. Wood has been in farm equipment sales for nearly 3 decades.

Jay Funke, Del-Clay Farm Equipment

Jay Funke is president of Del-Clay Farm Equipment in Edgewood, Iowa. The dealership, which was founded in 1947, has been operated by the Funke family since 1992. Del-Clay represents Agco, Bobcat, Kawasaki, Krone, and New Holland.

Keith Kreps, RDO Equipment Co.

Keith Kreps is executive vice president at RDO Equipment Co., which is based in North Dakota. The Deere dealership has more than 75 stores in nine states and partnerships worldwide. RDO was founded in 1968; Kreps has been with the company since 1998.

BJ Knutson, Titan Machinery

BJ Knutson is chief operating officer of Titan Machinery, which owns and operates a network of full-service agriculture and construction equipment dealerships in the United States and Europe. Its primary new equipment manufacturer partner is the CNH family of brands. Knutson joined Titan in 2002 in sales and worked as store manager, complex manager, region manager, and vice president of ag before becoming COO.

Moderator: Mike Wiles “Tractor Mike”

Moderator Mike Wiles teaches agriculture sales at Missouri State University but may be better known from his “Ask Tractor Mike” YouTube channel offering hobby farmers instruction on proper use of farm equipment. He worked 10 years for a farm equipment company and another 11 at a dealership. Wiles also will talk to attendees during the digital marketplace session and lead a separate conversation on attendees’ YouTube channels.

Human Capital: Building Your Workforce

Mark Core and Whitney Wilkinson, Vermeer Corporation

Vermeer’s Mark Core and Whitney Wilkinson will provide a thought-provoking presentation on the shortage of skilled talent, what lies ahead in workforce development, and most importantly, what can be done in our industry to alleviate the pain. Core and Wilkinson are passionate about the human-capital component in successful manufacturing. They have been a part of innovative solutions to fill the gap for both Vermeer and dealers. They will share successes–and failures–around apprenticeships, teacher intern programs, Vo/AG FFA alignment, internships, effective millennial recruiting, university collaborations, tech school alignment, and leveraging social media such as LinkedIn.

Core is Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer at Vermeer Corporation. He oversees the company’s forage and lifecycle business units and guides all marketing and brand activities. Core joined Vermeer in 1996 as a manager of external training and dealer development and has since held several market-facing leadership positions. Core is actively involved in mentoring the next generation of marketing leaders in the agriculture and heavy equipment industries.

Whitney Wilkinson is talent acquisition manager at Vermeer Corporation. She is passionate about attracting, acquiring and onboarding top talent at every level of the organization and has been doing so for almost eight years. She has expanded corporate recruiting efforts to support Vermeer independently owned dealerships in the core areas of their business. 

Mark Core and Whitney Wilkinson will speak on Wednesday at 1:15 pm.

Raise Your Profile in the Digital Marketplace

Nate Meiergerd, TractorHouse, Jamie Meier, Landoll Corporation, and Mike Wiles, Ask Tractor Mike

Get tips for using online tools to grow your business, even if the bulk of what you sell moves through a dealership. Nate Meiergerd, manager at TractorHouse, Jamie Meier, agriculture sales manager at Landoll Corp., and Mike Wiles, Ask Tractor Mike will talk with attendees about strategies to increase the likelihood your end-users will seek your products on dealers’ lots and that dealers will be ready to close the deal. 

Meiergerd has been with TractorHouse since 2005 and works closely with manufacturers. In addition to setting up online platforms for dealers and end-users that drive sales for manufacturers, TractorHouse also builds online equipment showrooms for manufacturers, used-equipment websites, certified pre-owned approval processes, dealer-to-dealer wholesale networks, and more.

Meier, a regular at Association meetings, will offer insights into Landoll’s strategies to expand online services to dealers and strengthen its customer base through social media channels such as YouTube and Twitter. Meier is sales manager for Landoll Corporation’s Agricultural Division. Since 2006, he has helped build a nationwide dealer network. During this time, Landoll has implemented an e-commerce system, and the ag division is working on a configurator-based system for its dealer network.

Mike Wiles, also known as “Tractor Mike,” creates YouTube videos offering hobby farmers instruction on proper use of farm equipment. He grew up on a small farm in Missouri and later launched a career in farm equipment. Wiles, who teaches agriculture sales at Missouri State University, will offer tips on optimizing use of YouTube in equipment sales. He’ll hold a separate session offering attendees’ feedback on their channels.

Nate Meiergerd, Jamie Meier, and Mike Wiles will speak on Thursday at 9:00 am.

Tillage Council

Rye DeGarmo, Great Plains Manufacturing, Inc.

Rye DeGarmo is vice president of engineering at Great Plains Manufacturing, Inc. Before joining Great Plains in 2017, DeGarmo served in several key engineering positions at AGCO. DeGarmo will offer a global perspective on the tillage equipment marketplace.

The Tillage Council  meets from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Using YouTube — Case Studies

Mike Wiles, Ask Tractor Mike

Mike Wiles, or “Tractor Mike,” will offer tips on optimizing use of YouTube in equipment sales through a series of analyses of attendees’ YouTube channels.

Mike will speak on Wednesday from 3-4 pm.


Fun is Good – Finding Your Joy & Passion

Mike Veeck, Fun Is Good

The EMDA and Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association Joint Opening Session is designed to bring the members together to “kick-off” their conventions with a dynamic presentation that will set the tone for an intensive week of appointments and meetings. This year’s Joint Opening Session features Mike Veeck presenting “Fun is Good – Finding Your Joy & Passion”. Mike Veeck is a nationally renowned speaker, entrepreneur, college professor, marketing, promotions and advertising expert as well as an owner of several successful minor-league baseball clubs and the business consulting firm, Fun Is Good. His name is synonymous with fun and creativity and he continues to blaze new trails each year. He believes anything is possible and that passion drives performance! Through stories of his successes and failures, Mike demonstrates that every good idea starts with innovative, creative and many times totally outrageous suggestions. Mike will challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and into an environment where unique partnerships, promotions, and engaged employees equal increased profits and success for any organization.

Mike Veeck will speak on Wednesday at 8:00 am.