Reinie Fischer, Customer Service Advisor in Hermiston, OR, celebrated 45 years of service in May and is set to retire in early June.
Reinie joined Pioneer Implement in Hermiston in 1976, bringing more than a decade of experience from his previous employer, International Harvester, where he built a reputation as a baler expert. He took on a similar role at Pioneer, serving many of the same customers in the process.
“Customers followed me over,” he recalled with pride. “They didn’t care what dealership I worked for.”
In 1978, he became Service Manager, a role he held for the next 28 years, before transitioning to a Customer Service Advisor, where he enjoys working directly with customers, making deliveries, and ensuring their needs are addressed.
Ryan Bensel, Hermiston Store Manager, said Reinie’s dedication to customers is a defining trait.
“I’ve only worked with Reinie for a third of his career, but his commitment to the customer and RDO is second to none,” he said. “His dedication to come in every day with a smile on his face and the enthusiasm to get the job done, whatever the day may bring, sets him apart.”
Customer Service Advisor Ron Anderson accepted a Service Technician job from Reinie in 1983 and has worked alongside him in the region for the last 38 years. Ron, too, noted the ways Reinie has defined his role and his impact.
“Reinie’s strongest traits for his long-time success are his confidence, his consistency, and his loyalty. That’s how he lives his life.”
It is the customers who stand out most to Reinie when he looks back on his career. He has watched many of their operations pass down from generation to generation and recalls working with the great-grandfathers of some current customers. He has always made a point to visit them at home, bringing them RDO calendars, and making time to have coffee with their families.
“They are the ones who made this business,” he said. “They were loyal to us all those years ago and their families still are to this day.”
But Reinie is quick to point out that loyalty could never be taken for granted. When Pioneer Implement in Hermiston became part of RDO in 2003, Reinie recalls a particular customer who immediately lost trust in the dealership and its new out-of-state ownership.
Reinie set out to prove that though the name on the sign was changing, the values were not. He had continued conversations with the customer and followed through with every need, making sure to arrange a prompt service visit when one of the customer’s tractors developed a small fluid leak. The effort paid off, and the customer later admitted that RDO was not the outfit he first assumed.
“Pioneer’s outlook on building customers for life was very similar to RDO’s, but we still had to prove that we do what we say,” Reinie said.
In embodying that Core Value, Ryan said Reinie has made an unmistakable impact on RDO, the Hermiston store, and the customers he has served.
“A lot of people can say they buy their equipment from RDO, but when Reinie delivers it, that’s when they say, ‘This is why we buy from RDO, because Reinie will be here to help with anything and everything.’”
Ron seconded the sentiment, saying, “I once heard someone ask, ‘What is Reinie’s job?’ And the answer given was, ‘He is The RDO ambassador!’ I thought it couldn’t be more fitting.”
Reinie will be the first to tell you he prefers a clipboard and pen over a laptop, and of all the change he has seen in 45 years, the amount of technology on the job and in equipment today is the greatest. But all the technology in the world cannot replace experience, and Reinie has remained a steadfast resource to those around him throughout his career.
“He is such a wealth of knowledge for his coworkers and his customers that, in his 45 years, he has probably forgotten more than most of us will ever learn,” Ryan said.
Since completing the terms of his two-year military conscription in 1961, Reinie has held just four major jobs, and he jokes with younger team members about having a long way to go to catch up to him. But amid his joke, he offers a time-tested piece of advice about what it takes to get there.
“Hang in and give it your best. You will have down days where you will want to hang it up and say, ‘I’m done.’ But you have to decide if this is what you really want to do, and if it is, then do it and do it right. Take your bumps and lumps and keep going.”
Up next for Reinie as he winds down into retirement is more family time but no other big plans just yet.
“I’m going to slow down a little but nothing wild.”