Lessiter Media celebrated the hard work of those making today’s precision farming systems possible during the first ever Precision Specialist Week, Aug. 13-19, 2023. Growers, dealers and manufacturers shared stories of those going above and beyond the call of duty to keep farming operations running.
“Our company has a long history in recognizing those whose extra efforts are making a difference in agriculture,” says Lessiter Media President Mike Lessiter. “We felt the precision specialist’s role has long been overlooked and is vital to the success of moving every element of technology forward — on the farm, in the dealership and in the technology development itself.”
Felipe Zavla of Vantage Northwest was among those recognized. Zavla’s storied career with the Fruitland, Idaho-based AGCO dealership almost didn’t even happen — he applied and interviewed several times before finally getting hired after nearly 2 years of trying.
“I’ve worked in several different industries in my life, and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a person more dedicated to his customer, team and products than Felipe,” says James Merrill, Vantage Northwest manager. “It does not matter the time of day — Felipe takes the customer’s call. If he can’t fix the issue over the phone, and the problem can’t wait until the next day, Felipe is on the road to get them going.”
Zavla was recently promoted to a technology sales position within the dealership as a testament to his strong work ethic.
“Jack has slept overnight in the service ambulance before…”
Melissa Mohr, office manager at Bottom Line Solutions in Morton, Ill., shared the story of another dual-threat specialist in sales and service manager Jack Bartholomew.
“Jack is a hero to many farmers each spring and fall when planters and combines hit the fields,” Mohr says. “He’s been called many times after hours or on the weekends, and without hesitation he’s there to get our customers at Bottom Line Solutions back up and going.”
Bartholomew, a former farmer himself, converted an ambulance into a “store on wheels,” fully stocked with parts and tools to serve his customers.
Precision Specialist Week: Going the Extra Mile
When a potential problem popped up in central Illinois, Linco-Precision’s Andy Waters sprang into action and sent the following email to his customers and co-workers, as shared by his general manager, Lloyd Lewis:
As of May 17, 2022, the U.S. government has decommissioned WAAS satellite 138, which has been our main correction satellite in Illinois and much of the Midwest for many years, and they are replacing it with satellite WAAS 135, which is in commission now. ONLY if you use WAAS on any of your systems, and ONLY if you are having issues converging or getting a GPS fix, attached are documents on how to change the satellite settings for an EZ Guide 250, EZ Guide 500, CFX 750/FM 750, TMX using Precision IQ application and GFX 350/XCN 750 or GFX 750/XCN 1050 displays with Nav 500, or Nav 900 receivers. As far as an FMX/FM-1000 or TMX 2050/XCN 2050, I only have a video for that.
“Andy went on to cover additional brands and models of precision equipment as well as attaching several PDF files and videos to assist area farmers in this transition,” Lewis says. “This was completely his idea, showcasing his initiative and foresight in caring for his customers.”
“Jack has slept overnight in the service ambulance before,” Mohr says. “He serviced a late-night issue and was there first thing in the morning when his customer was ready to hit the field.”
The second annual Precision Specialist Week will take place Aug. 11-17, 2024. Celebrate the dedicated precision specialists at your dealership by nominating them anytime throughout the year at farm-equipment.com/psweek.