Rich Mollotte, General Manager of RDO Equipment Co.’s Coulee City, Moses Lake, Othello, and Ritzville, WA stores, is set to retire in July after a career of 43 years.
Rich began his career in high school when he worked part-time with an equipment dealer in his hometown of Othello. After graduation, he joined the dealership full-time, relocating to Hermiston, OR for a few years. But with wishes to keep their roots in Othello, Rich and his wife returned in 1978, and Rich accepted an entry-level job at Evergreen Implement.
“I was the guy who swept the floors,” he said of those early days. But he seized opportunities to advance, working his way into freight and the parts department, where he eventually took lead and manager roles, before moving into senior leadership.
Rich and the Evergreen Implement team became part of RDO in 2018. Within RDO, Rich has observed a culture of individual support and growth, all ultimately aimed at supporting the customer. Though his focus as General Manager is broader, opportunities to engage directly with customers is the part of his career Rich cherishes most.
“I was talking to friends all day long, working to build one-on-one, lasting relationships,” he said of his approach to customer support. “I always strived to be the best parts person I could so customers knew they could trust me.”
And to Rich, trust and authenticity are what relationships boil down to, and they are the focus of advice he offers to others working directly with customers.
“You may deal with 20 to 50 different customers in a day, each with different problems, each looking at you for the answer,” he said. “You have to be confident; you can’t have dead time in the conversation. Talk about the little stuff, ask questions, show that you’re willing to listen and help, and you’ll create an atmosphere of trust.”
As he looks ahead to retirement, Rich is excited to spend more time with his wife and their 18 grandchildren who all live within 45 miles. Along with family time, he plans to do more hiking, hunting, fishing, and getting more involved in the community.