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Monday, November 23, 2020

Staff Spotlight Lou, West Edmonton Branch Manager

In May of 1986, Lou decided to take a step back from his family farm to pursue a different career - but he wasn't quite sure what he wanted to do. “Whatever a farm boy from Clyde could do!” he remembers thinking. He leaned on his father-in-law for advice and that is when he was introduced to Bert Bloome at Martin Farm Equipment. Lou recalls: “I knew I loved ag equipment and I knew I liked playing with it, but I wasn't sure if I could sell it.” One hour later he was hired. Fast forward 35 years and Lou has held a wide variety of positions within the company.

Lou began his career at Martin Farm Equipment in Ag Sales, covering the territory North of Highway 16. He remained in that position for 15 years, acquiring different job titles along the way of Sprayer Specialist and Combine Specialist. Some of his great achievements occurred during that time when he was awarded with the prestigious awards from John Deere including the Grand Master Tractor Sales Award, Master Tractor Sales Awards and Master Combine Sales Award.

In 2000, he was asked to manage the Mayerthorpe branch, so Lou and his wife Char packed up and moved on December 31st and only 2 days later started in his new role. 5 years later he was asked to take on the role as Branch Manager for the Wetaskiwin store in addition to his existing role as Branch Manager for Mayerthorpe. By this time, Lou and his wife were living in Legal so he would alternate commuting between Mayerthorpe and Wetaskiwin. “After 2 years of commuting every day, I can tell you for certain it is 128km from Legal to Mayerthorpe and 125km to Wetaskiwin!”

In January of 2008 he shortened his commute and accepted the position of Ag Sales Manager at the West Edmonton location. 4 years later he took on the role of Branch Manager at West Edmonton where he has been ever since.

Working at a John Deere dealership was a natural fit for Lou. From a young age, he was heavily involved in his family farm in Clyde. By the time he was 14, Lou was going to school and farming full-time. He even bought his first piece of farm equipment at 14 years old. “I bought a New Holland bale wagon because I hated picking and stacking bales!”. And even though he eventually decided to take a step back in 1986, he still helped his brother manage his operation any chance he could.

When asked what his most memorable moment in his 35 years would be - it's hard to pinpoint just one. But Lou says there is one day that he will never forget - July 31, 1987 - the Edmonton tornado, or what has become known to Edmontonians as Black Friday. “I remember standing under the mezzanine with a customer at our store on 156 Street. The wind was howling through the streets and the rain was coming at us horizontally. I don't think either one of us had any idea what was happening. I did manage to sell him 2 tractors that day, though!”.

Through his 35 years - Lou has seen many changes throughout the organization, but he says the biggest change has definitely been the equipment and the technology. “When I first started pricing equipment, I had to carry around a big green book that I would have to update the price pages in once a week. Now things are instantaneous with the online systems that we have available.” And his favorite part of his 35 years here? The people. “I have been blessed to work with so many great people that have made great contributions to MMD - every day is a great day!”

When asked what his plan will be with his newfound free time come November, he answered: “to not have a plan!” Eventually he hopes to make a road trip with his wife across Canada to set foot on the East coast. In the meantime, you'll find Lou at his lake lot doing renos, woodworking or just tinkering around.

Lou - thank you for 35 amazing years and being a staple here at Martin Deerline! We wish you all the best in your retirement and look forward to you stopping by and saying hello!

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