Joe Jandel, Account Manager at RDO Equipment Co. in Redfield, SD, has been a farmer his entire life. He grew up on a farm, bought his own farm in the 70s, and still stays busy there farming and raising cattle alongside his son. Farming was, and always has been, a part of Joe’s plan, and that’s as true as ever now, as he celebrates his retirement after 46 years in the equipment industry.
Joe’s done just about every job there is to do at an equipment dealership. He’s washed combines, fixed equipment, and drove truck. He was Service Manager in Redfield for 29 years, during which time he served his fellow farmers, developing a community’s worth of relationships along the way.
“I’m fortunate to have built a lot of trust among customers, and I’m really proud of it,” he said.
When RDO acquired the Redfield store, Joe jumped from service to sales, a transition made unique by the years of experience he brought to it.
“Sales was different for me than most,” Joe said. “I started off selling to my friends.”
That ability to continue connecting with customers is one of the things Joe has cherished most about the role he’s held for almost 20 years now.
“As a Service Manager, I got to talk to everyone, but I didn’t often get to see them. In sales, I get to do both.”
It’s no surprise that little is the same in today’s equipment industry compared to the one in which Joe began. Machines have evolved immensely, as have the ways they are repaired and maintained. The transition to the RDO network came with challenges but also unmistakable benefits: neighboring stores and team members to help with repairs and unrivaled access to equipment to meet customers’ needs.
A set of values took shape during that transition, too: Partner with Employees was demonstrated from the beginning, making a naturally apprehensive time a bit surer. Building Customers for Life was made easier with the added resources and knowledge. But the simplest of those values is the one that Joe recognized and related to the easiest.
“We Do What We Say – I’ve always felt that’s one thing that earned me the credibility I have today. If I told someone I was going to do something, I did it. Even if it came at some cost to me, it meant my word was good.”
The relationships Joe has built in the last 46 years will remain his in many ways; he has customers – families – he’s worked with for multiple generations. But as he hands off the business side of those relationships to his RDO teammates, his guidance is simple, too.
“Treat people like you want to be treated. That just about fixes everything.”
In retirement from his career in the equipment industry, Joe will turn more attention back to the farm -- after all, that has always been the plan. But he also intends to relax, and that, he said, will be decidedly unplanned.
“My wife and I hope to travel more, using our camper. No places in particular, we just want to hit the road and stop when and wherever we feel like stopping.”