When DuWayne Fritz, Lead Designer at RDO Water in Yuma, AZ, thinks about the advice he offers to new team members, the theme stems from the mindset he’s held during this 20-year career.
“Prepare for changes,” he said. “Changes are a normal part of the business function. They are always good whether you realize it at the time or not. Accept change and roll with it.”
When it comes to embracing change, DuWayne is surely one to listen to; after all, his career as it is today began through a drastic change. He was originally a high school teacher, and, after finding that the job was not as fulfilling as he wanted it to be, opted for something else – engineering.
In line with his knack for handling change, DuWayne has a passion for problem-solving, so teaching himself a whole new field of study came as a welcome challenge.
“Teaching required long, hard hours, along with an element of disciplining students that just wasn’t me. On the other hand, drafting and engineering takes a lot of thinking hours and self-discipline,” he said. “I had to think critically for eight to 12 hours a day, and that was an easier transition for me.”
Once set along the engineering path, DuWayne took a job with Water Tech Ag Supply in Yuma, which became RDO Water in 2013. The acquisition brought an increase in project complexity and a whole new avenue to meeting customers’ needs, both of which continue to appeal to DuWayne to this day.
“Before RDO came in, we were given difficult projects with filter stations and pump stations to design. However, when we jumped into RDO, those projects got bigger and more complex,” he said. “For me, that was amazing because this is what I love to do. Taking that step up was fun for me.”
That step-up also meant meeting new customers and providing new, holistic ways to support them.
“RDO Equipment Co. works with the same customers that we do on the irrigation side. If a customer came to get tractor worked on, we might also learn about new irrigation projects he has planned,” he said. “We have that similarity in what the customer needs, and it works hand in hand and it is very congruent.”
DuWayne’s passion for solving problems takes shape through his customer service. He calls Build Customers for Life his top RDO Core Value, and to him, customers’ problems, though they vary in many ways, are the same in essence.
“When it comes to irrigation design, even the small projects like 40 acres or so, are just as important to me as a 1,000-acre design. The customer has the same core needs, and the challenge requires the same thought process of me,” he said.
All combined, DuWayne finds himself in a position he enjoys as much, if not more, today as he did 20 years ago.
“I am a really lucky guy because I am a person who really loves their work, and it’s easy for me to love because it’s thinking and solving problems all day. I can’t imagine being anywhere else."