BBI Spreaders is proud to announce the hiring of Russ McEver, professional problem-solver, for our growing team of precision agriculture professionals.
A graduate of Georgia Southern University, Russ brings a wealth of business experience to BBI, working with farmers and other businesspeople in a variety of capacities throughout his career, including industry roles in finance, meat packing, machining, and hardware, tools, and equipment. This married father of two personifies the BBI mission with his focus on improving customer economics in the areas of inside sales, parts, and precision agriculture technology applications.
BBI Spreader News sat down recently with Russ to share a greater understanding of the experience and acumen he brings to the company.
BBI Spreader News: Tell us a little about your background, Russ.
Russ McEver: Farming and engineering are a part of my life, and finance is in my educational background and early career. I grew up in a small town, Talmo, in rural north Georgia. My great-granddad founded a meat packing facility that employed many people in the Talmo area, and my granddad and his brothers all farmed in various ways.
My father was also an entrepreneur, and he started a machine shop. Working there with him growing up and through college, I learned many skills that would influence me throughout my career, as well as putting them to use now at BBI for our customers in agribusiness. I developed skills in manufacturing equipment and parts, CAD, blueprints, and engineering. This appealed to me on so many levels, since, as a boy, I was always that kid who tore apart all of his toys and then put them back together again, just so I could see how they worked.
BBI Spreader News: And then you took a detour of sorts?
Russ McEver: After finishing my finance degree at Georgia Southern, I found myself captured by the allure of the banking industry. I spent the next 15 years after college serving in a variety of roles at a couple of banks headquartered in north Georgia. I worked my way up to a senior leadership role in commercial lending, which gave me great insight to the economics and operations of businesses of all sizes. I developed a specialty in commercial real estate lending, which gave me a lot of exposure to agribusiness.
After the financial system crash, I decided to do a re-boot and get back to my roots. I bought a hardware store, Thompson Bridge True Value, in Gainesville, Georgia. Taking over the store, I was able to achieve my goal of getting back to having my hands on problems that needed to be solved, as I did working for my dad in the machine shop. Every day, customers would approach me with problems in everything from plumbing issues to fastener needs.
Running the store these last few years has been great, taking a struggling operation back to success, but I was craving a bigger challenge.
BBI Spreader News: And that’s where your role at BBI comes in?
Russ McEver: That’s right. I decided to leave the store in the good hands of the management team and see if I could make a positive difference at BBI. I’m enjoying my work here, since it gives me multiple opportunities to work with our customers and translate their needs into what we’re doing in parts, service, and most importantly, in our launch of next-generation precision agriculture technology.
I’ve been doing a lot of field testing of our new Task Command System with Lee Kilpatrick (BBI’s Director of Sales and Marketing), which is going to be a real game-changer for our farmers.
On the parts and service front, I’m enjoying my work with our end-users in the farming community. I know from my own role as a business owner the urgency you have when there’s a problem to solve. If they have a spreader, a part, or a technology piece that isn’t working correctly, I know they have that focused urgency on having fertilizer to spread and crops to get in the ground. I relish each opportunity to solve their problems and get them and their equipment back to work, achieving their business needs.
BBI Spreader News: You no doubt have a unique perspective on the emerging precision farming tools and technology advanced by BBI and throughout the industry over the last decade.
Russ McEver: Yes, I do. From my understanding of the family farming business, I know that these businesses typically transition from generation to generation. Many of our customers are multi-generation family farms, where granddad or great-granddad, even, started the farm, and handed it down.
This current generation, just emerging from leading ag schools like Kansas State, Purdue, and NC State, has been exposed to cutting-edge technology applications in farming. They come back educated and decide they want to take the skills they’ve learned to a new level in the business of farming. While this generation’s parents may be already using first-generation computer systems to manage the tasks of the farm, the Generation Y and millenials are so tied in with new technology—they are the same ones who stand in line for Iphones.
For a company like BBI, it’s getting to the point where the technology we offer—and keep developing and improving through the years—is just as important as having great, durable, efficient equipment. Over the last few years, the technology has had to catch up to the advances in equipment design. I expect that to change, as our technology will take over, and we’ll need to ensure that our equipment matches the high demands of precision farming year after year.