Tractor Training

Published 7:10 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2005

By By Janet Little Cooper
The familiar phrase "Nothing Runs like a Deere" was surely on the mind of John Deere executives when they created the only John Deere Road Scholar in the year 2000.
Technicians within the company are required to be continually updated and certified on the lasted advances in technology and information in order to back their famous slogan.
In an effort to keep the dealers running smoothly with the latest technology, the company designed a state-of-the-art traveling training facility equipped to travel all over the United States to individual John Deere dealers.
Smith Tractor in Atmore has been hosting the 53-foot Road Scholar this past week.
Twelve technicians employed by a John Deere dealer from Atmore, Jay, Frisco City, Mobile and Lucedale are taking classes every day for two weeks to become certified in electrical components and hydraulics.
"We used to travel to a school held in Atlanta and around other places," Eddie Booker, Smith Tractor Service Manager said. "This is a lot easier on the dealer and the technicians. It cuts down travel expense and lodging and the men get to go home at night. It is more convenient for everyone."
The mobile training facility runs 48 to 49 weeks a year, traveling over 48 states and Canada. The unit is stationed in one location for at least a week at a time, sometimes two.
The truck has two slide outs to accommodate a classroom setting for 16 students at a time. The area has two rows of tables and chairs for the students and a podium for the instructor.
Instructors use a computer to display power point presentations over the built in projector and 48-inch screen. The facility is also equipped with a plasma television, VCR's, DVD players, surround sound, satellite and 16 lap top computers.
Each student has an electrical training board at their station to use for problems presented by the instructor.
"This operation is fully self sufficient," Keith Galloway, the driver of the mobile unit said. "John Deere uses this facility to teach sales, secretarial, parts, mechanical, electrical, hyradaulics, and even customer service. They set it up on a 400- to 600-acre farm for a week and planted corn to demonstrate a new line of planters they were introducing to the market. It is definitely in full use and worthwhile to the individual dealers."
Galloway is one of only two drivers who are contracted out by John Deere from Agra Tech to transport the facility and man the day-to-day operations necessary.
According to the current instructor aboard the Road Scholar, James Clutter, the company has focused primarily on training in the electrical and hydraulics area.
Clutter who is retired from the Air Force Reserves and Civil Service, is contracted out through Northwest Mississippi Community College in Sanitobia, Miss. Clutter is among one of several instructors who specialize in a certain field or area of interest within the company.
"I teach the basic principles of electrical and hydraulics," Clutter said. "We use electrical trainers so the students can see how the theory I am teaching them works. They do the actual problem on the trainer, giving them hands on experience. They will have a hydraulic trainer to work with for the second phase of training here."
Clutter has just recently returned from John Deere dealers in Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania. He covers the eastern half of the United States for the company.
This weeks training will come to an end next week, as the participants are given a final test. A 70 is required for them to receive a certificate for the course.

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