In honor of Ag Leader’s 25th anniversary, we will spend some time focusing on an essential part of our success… our employees!
Name: Mark Anderson
Title: Sales and Market Analyst
Hometown: Dows, IA
How long have you been employed by Ag Leader? 21.5 years
What are the different positions you have held at Ag Leader? Production (Cables Department), Tech Support, Nebraska Territory Manager, Sales and Market Analyst
How have you seen Ag Leader and precision ag as a whole change during your time here?
A LOT!! When I first started, there was no “precision” anything in regards to today’s marketing terminology. The yield monitor was the only thing that was on the market. The OEMs did not have a factory-installed option. At the time everyone was skeptical that this technology could even work. By 1997, there were only a couple of competing manufacturers of yield monitors – one of which was an aerospace and defense company! Neither of these companies survived in the yield monitor business. As new displays from Ag Leader came out so did more features, but it wasn’t until 2004 when the InSight™ (10.4” color touchscreen) was released that the huge explosion in technology happened. This new technology allowed for more functionality of the screen yet it was easier to use. It brought in the era of AutoSwath™ and a direct return on your investment that you could see as you were using it.
I have seen our customers change. At first, they were skeptical that we could measure yield on the go. Next, they believed in the technology but wanted to wait for prices to come down. Back then a yield monitor ran around $3,500. Now they believe in the technology, its benefits and request more features.
I have seen a supporting industry grow; soil sampling services, satellite imagery and drones just to name a few. In the early years, customers introduced and trained their dealers about our products; they analyzed their own data using SRAM card technology that was anything but easy to connect to their home computers. Now we live in an age where data is flying through the air and living in clouds. Today’s customers have a support group of iron dealers, co-ops, agronomists and many other independents that can beam changes to their prescriptions while they are in the field or log into their system remotely to help troubleshoot problems from 100s of miles away.
I have watched Ag Leader go from little company of 23 employees with no competition, to everyone wanting to be a part of this industry. We were a small independent company just trying making a name for itself in the early years to a company that provides technology to several OEMs and being the benchmark for quality and ease of use. I have seen a product born in Iowa, only known in the Midwest for many years, to one that has been sold in countries all around the world. I’ve been here for 4 changes in buildings along with the addition of 3 international offices. There have been good times and bad times in the ag industry and all along we have remained independent. This is not only due to Al Myer’s vision but all of the people that he has hired; they have the same vision, work ethic and pride in the company that allows us to continue to innovate and provide our customers with products that benefit their operations. I know I will continue to see changes that will drive this company and industry ahead in the next 25 years. I look forward to every minute of it!
Let us never stop learning, discovering, or become complacent; let us always strive to be better at what we do, learn every day, and take time to listen.
What is your favorite thing about working here? Over the years and different positions, I have found that the underlying things that are great about working here has always been the same: the people, technology, ability to help others, see the results of that, and the freedom in the workplace to identify and tackle issues without someone micromanaging them.
What do you do in your free time? Spending time with my family hiking, camping, canoeingkayaking, visiting national parks, helping the kids with their 4-H animals, road biking, hunting, shooting, archery, photography.