Jeff McConnell, General Manager of RDO Equipment Co. – Ehrenberg retired this fall after a career of 38 years.
Jeff started at a small mom and pop dealership as a Parts Specialist, went through three different ownership groups, and saw the evolution of technology in the business during nearly four decades. But as his career grew from holding different department manager roles to officially earning the General Manager position in Ehrenberg 20 years ago, Jeff’s favorite part of his career has been daily interaction with customers and team members.
“We work with the same customers, forming relationships and helping them with their successes,” Jeff said. “In turn, they also help with our successes. It’s a team relationship.”
Staying on top of technology advancements is one way that Jeff and the Ehrenberg team have maintained a strong customer base, punctuated by having good relationships with other store locations, regions, and the Field Support Office. At the center of those relationships are the RDO Core Values, which Jeff has used as a roadmap to inspire team members to achieve professional goals.
In fact, Jeff recalled a specific exercise he once conducted as Parts Manager with his team, encouraging each team member to personalize and define the Core Values in their own words. The experience changed the dynamic of the parts department, truly helping team members understand purpose of the Core Value and the culture to which they contribute. It is an effect Jeff witnessed time and again.
“Because of the culture at RDO, I’ve watched team members be promoted from staff level roles to Vice Presidents and all positions in between,” Jeff said. “We truly care for our customers and our team members and that’s the really cool part.”
Jeff calls Play to Win his favorite of the Core Values, describing himself as, “one of the most competitive people you’d ever meet,” who always enjoyed reviewing monthly financials to see how the Ehrenberg store stacked up against larger stores in the region. And that competitive craving is something he always aimed to spark in his team members, advising them that they can achieve anything they want if they put in the work and don’t limit themselves.
As he settles into retirement, Jeff’s looking forward to spending more time with his family. He’ll also be playing in the desert with his various off-road toys, woodworking, and traveling. You may even find him stopping by the store, as he readily admits he’s going to miss daily interactions with customers and the team the most.