Roger Altstadt, Hawley Account Manager, celebrated his retirement in September after 28 years. In his time in the equipment industry, Roger has made an undeniable impact on not only the business but the people behind it.
Roger began with Clay Becker Implement, now the Hawley RDO Equipment Co. store, in 1993. He found his initial passion for sales in powersports products, which the store sold at the time. As the business changed, Roger’s focus turned to small agriculture equipment, or consumer products (CP), but his love for “getting inside the sale” was there to stay. Now, looking back on his career, Roger’s accomplishments speak for his passion.
“Roger has built the CP business in Hawley,” summarized Dan Frisch, Regional Sales Manager, who has worked with Roger for the better part of a decade. “In his time, it’s grown to a behemoth, relatively speaking, and what he’s achieved in that regard is a testament to the relationships he’s built.”
Dan noted the special focus Roger devoted to his customers and the confidence he instilled in them as they sought small tractors and lawn mowers that shared a lot with massive farm machinery.
“They’d get with Roger and immediately know they were going to be fully taken care of,” Dan said. “He wouldn’t hesitate to pull out all the stops to get his customers what they needed.”
Roger said his keys to success across nearly three decades were being curious, inquisitive, and ambitious – traits that benefited his customers and which he found supported by his teammates and the organization around him.
“What really sticks out to me is the quality of the John Deere and RDO families, the class and level of respect that was displayed at all levels,” he said. In describing RDO’s culture, Roger pointed to, “what’s in the air – the camaraderie and team-building” as one of its best elements, along with the empowerment and support of all team members to work safe.
“Roger is an absolute believer in the RDO culture,” Dan said. “He’s got a true appreciation for customer service and doing what’s right.”
In mentorship opportunities, Dan said Roger focused as much on teaching his mentees what it means to work at RDO as he did on sales tactics and numbers, an approach that has resonated with a younger generation of team members.
True to form, Roger claimed We Do What We Say as his most highly regarded RDO Core Value.
“You can brush something like that off pretty easily,” he said of the intention behind the statement. “But when you start living it and interacting with customers, it becomes real. I always did my best to help customers know that when they bought a tractor, it wasn’t the end of our relationship, it was only the beginning.”
And in treating customers with integrity in every word and action, Roger found his favorite part of the job: happy customers.
“Whether it’s finding the right tractor or getting it repaired or adjusted, the successful result is happiness, smiles. That’s what it was all about: happy, satisfied customers.”
Though he is stepped away from his career, Roger’s passion for sales is strong as ever, and he expects to stay busy buying and selling as a hobby, in one way or another. Regular hunting and fishing outings are also high on his to-do list, but now, family takes priority over all else for Roger.
“If the grandkids call, that trumps everything else.”