Kevin Johnston grew up on a small grain and potato farm in Grafton, North Dakota. During high school, he worked at the local John Deere dealership and later moved to Fargo to attend college. He joined RDO in 1998.
He started part-time, washing equipment, mowing lawns and helping with machine demos. He moved into full-time parts and sales roles and eventually accomplished a personal goal of becoming a store manager. Today, he is Vice President of Midwest Ag.
Johnston is grateful for the opportunities he’s found and encourages others to remain eager along their unique path.
What does a good day at work look like for you?
Days when I get to the stores and interact with team members and customers. That’s the best way to keep in touch with the business and stay grounded with what we’re trying to accomplish day-to-day. It’s also the best way to find opportunities to help team members and customers grow.
In your RDO career, what achievement stands out to you?
We have these customers, two brothers who farm together, and I sold them my first-ever new tractor. That was 20 years ago, and I worked with them in parts before that. Still, to this day, I talk to them and work to help them grow their operation.
It’s relationships like that, where I’ve known them my entire career, I’ve seen their operation change and watched their kids grow up and take over the farm. I’ve seen the whole team partner with them to be successful. In the beginning, things like that are just about work, but it changes into a partnership, a relationship and sometimes even a friendship.
What advice do you have for growing a career at RDO?
Take the opportunities to learn, whether in training sessions, conversations with teammates or customer interactions. Reflect — if things went great, learn how to do it again. If they didn’t go well, think and talk through what you’d do differently if given the chance. If you continue that and always keep wanting to learn and grow, you’ll find plenty of opportunities.