Jim Carell, McKinney General Manager, retired in October after spending 18 years with RDO Equipment Co.
Jim joined RDO as an Account Manager in Irving, working his way into Sales Manager and Corporate Account Manager roles in the Texas region before his current position. He brought an already established career with him to RDO, along with expertise in the core elements of doing business—building trust and long-term relationships.
It’s these basics Jim has strived to imbue in younger team members throughout his career, even though managing people is something he said never came naturally to him. It required him to slow down and really think about the way he worked, a process that resulted in a key takeaway.
“One of the most important things throughout my career was always learning to be a better leader. I am still learning today.”
As rewarding as it is challenging, Jim’s commitment to developing others is something Cory Kosse, Vice President of Texas Construction, said he’s been fortunate to witness in his years working with Jim.
“When Jim gets involved, he finds a way to make things happen, and he teaches that to others,” Cory said. “He’s the kind person you want on the account, whether you’re the company or the customer.”
Between their shared Michigan roots and their shared passion for the business, Chris Cooper, Chief Operating Officer, recalled the immediate bond he and Jim formed almost 17 years ago. It was then that Chris joined RDO as General Manager of Irving, Fort Worth, and Waco and Jim served as his Sales Manager, a time before the Texas region saw the level of success it does today.
“Back then, we had a group of people needing something to believe in,” Chris said. “That magic working with Jim sparked something within that team to help us grow together. Collectively we walked a very special journey.”
Jim would go on to lead the establishment of a brand-new team and store in McKinney, a milestone he holds as the culmination of his career and his proudest achievement.
“I will fondly remember being part of the team that built the McKinney store from the ground up,” he said. “The team members who worked together to build McKinney into a successful store are like family and all share in whatever success I achieved as General Manager.”
In building a team in McKinney, Jim also crafted what may be his true legacy—a culture of openness, honesty, fun, and a singular commitment to shared goals.
“Jim came into that store on day one and knew the culture he wanted, and he worked hard to establish it,” Cory said. “He had a vision early on, hired people to support it, and developed them along the way. Now that culture belongs to the store and to that team.”
Though in Jim’s eyes, that accomplishment belonged to the team all along.
“He always told his team that the culture within the store is what they all make it,” Chris said. “It wasn’t him—it was them collectively coming together and making the McKinney culture what it is. He was so proud of that, and he should be.”
Daryl Shelton, Executive Vice President of Agriculture, spent 10 years working with Jim in the Texas region, and Jim’s impact on that part of the business is hard to understate.
“Jim’s contribution to the team, and the Dallas/Fort Worth market, is most impressive; from penetrating large, conquest accounts to building high-performing teams,” Daryl said. “He worked tirelessly with his team in McKinney to find immediate success and has set the benchmark of establishing a greenfield location.”
Jim’s impact will carry on well beyond his career and beyond just the McKinney team, too, to the many people who can call him a mentor and a friend.
“I’m honored to have been a part of Jim’s professional journey and for his impact on my professional development and knowledge of the construction industry,” Daryl said. “From day one Jim served as a trusted advisor and sounding board. We are happy to share in this wonderful milestone but will definitely miss his daily impact. All the best my friend!”
Looking back on his career, Jim will remember the people, as well—those he mentored, and those who mentored and challenged him over the years.
“Those are the people who put trust in me to do the job required of any of my positions,” he said. “I am very thankful I was allowed those opportunities to grow.”
Chris summarized the sentiment of many others, thanking Jim for his contribution to RDO and wishing him the best in his next chapter.
“He has been a great teammate, one hell of a team leader, and an even better man. I am going to miss him, but he told me he has my number and is going to bug me, and you know what – he better!”
As he looks ahead into retirement, Jim is excited to do more hiking and backpacking while knocking more national parks off his must-visit list, and he holds out hope that being able to spend more time on the golf course will improve his game. When global travel returns to normalcy, he plans to visit Italy and Ireland.
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