Then there’s the tractors

Working in a global team of innovators creating the future of electronics is a dream job for me. To put frosting on my cake, I made a visit to RDO Equipment just off the Interstate in Moorhead, Minn. There’s nothing quite so invigorating as standing in a herd of ag implements with tires taller than me.

John Deere herd

My host, Fred Hudson, directs marketing for RDO and he grins from ear-to-ear as heJohn Deere tattoo dives into his agricultural roots with me. We swapped stories of tractor-collecting patriarchs from our family-farming heritages. A couple of branding geeks, we shared our awe of the fanatical fan base of the John Deere logo.

Headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, RDO Equipment Company has more than 50 locations in 9 U.S. states and employs more than 1,500 people. Founder and Chairman Ron Offutt started with one store in Casselton and grew it into a premier John Deere dealership empire.RDO Equipment in Moorhead I was in the audience last September when Mr. Offutt received The Chamber’s Legacy Leader Award AND the North Dakota Governor’s RoughRider Award.

Today, RDO is the largest network of John Deere construction and agricultural equipment dealerships in the United States and is also a backbone of our local farming community.

Fred gave me a tour of the RDO dealership in Moorhead, which is on the site of one of Mr. Offutt’s first potato farms. He also took me through their treasure of a retail store, a brand fan’s dream. We hope to work together to bring some of the massive machinery from RDO onsite at our facilities so the whole team can see the amazing machines they work so hard on.

Deere statue

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Head First into High-Tech Farming

John Deere Plow

When I told friends and family I was going to work for John Deere, there were two reactions.

  1. You got a job at RDO!
  2. You’re moving?

No and no.

I work for John Deere Electronic Solutions, based in Fargo, ND. Known locally as Phoenix International, we had a modest start 25 years ago, as an entrepreneurial electronic engineering firm that grew quickly. So quickly, John Deere started taking notice a little over a decade ago.

It is a strategic move for John Deere to develop its reputation in cutting-edge electronics. As farm equipment becomes increasingly high-tech, John Deere saw Phoenix talent as a way to continue to edge out its competition.

Deere gradually increased its investment in Phoenix, acquiring full ownership in 1999. Fargo became a John Deere town and Phoenix became the Electronics Center of Excellence of John Deere.

And I just became a John Deere girl! Pinch me!

What a clutch time to welcome John Deere into my life; 175 years after Mr. Deere fashioned a better plow out of a broken saw.

I worked at Phoenix 10 years ago, when we had one plant on 45th street and packed the Ramada Crystal Ballroom for our holiday parties. Today, I’ve counted five buildings, at least two offsite warehouses, and a brand new monster building under construction on 19th Avenue North (right across the street from Olaf Anderson).Phoenix Plant in Fargo

Now let me hit you with our global reach. JDES has a manufacturing facility in Torreon, Mexico; an engineering team in Pune, India; and big plans for China. All based out of my little Fargo.

JDES is innovating new technologies in farming that will make you feel like Steven Spielberg should be making movies about us. I’m very excited to share the stories with you!

Thanks for reading~ and welcome to my wild ride!


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Five reasons to work for a chamber of commerce


As I sign off of my chamber duties for the last time, after eight years of loving the rewards and fulfillment of chamber work, I’m going to share my top 5 reasons I think everyone should try to get a job at the Chamber of Commerce:

Be smart.

Working for the chamber means learning about every issue, every organization and every leader shaping your community. As an employer, the chamber considers it part of your job to know what’s going on and it makes you a better employee.

Make friends.

A few years into your chamber employment, you will walk into a room of hundreds of people and consider half of them your friends. Chambers take networking to a higher level and you will create relationships that will last a career, if not a lifetime.

Be a hero.

Employees of a chamber are positioned to be a hero to everyone in the community. Business leaders and their teams need you. They need your connections, your knowledge, your advice, your support.

Be a leader.

Chambers are the leaders of leaders. Chambers make a positive difference. As a chamber employee, you will make a positive difference. You will meet inspirational people who do amazing things. You will be exposed to the smartest, hardest working people in your community and they will rub off on you.


Chambers mean events and events mean food. It’s an occupational hazard of chamber work that there is always an abundance of food available. You could eat square meals all day because the chamber feeds you.

Peace out and prosper.

Posted in Fargo Musings | 4 Comments