Going from the Accounting Department to Location Manager of the Jenner Ag Agriculture Division is quite a story, and one Clint Hohenstein is proud to tell. Clint got his start in our Accounting Department 18 years ago and in that time has held multiple positions. He has been the Auditor of Internal Policies, CFO, VP of Finance and more. His newest role is managing the Taylorville store.
“Some people might ask how I got to be on the path I’m following today and what qualifies me to be a store manager. The truth is, I have always put a lot of faith into the management team at Jenner Ag. They have always done myself and my family well, and I have never been put into a role that I didn’t feel was the best move for me,” says Clint.
He says working at a company that promotes from within has allowed him to change positions, take on new responsibilities and always feel confident to take on those new roles. “Each day of work for the past two decades has allowed me to hone my skillset to successfully be the liaison between the parts, service and sales teams and what the needs of our Taylorville store are,” he explains.
Clint knows the ag industry the store serves because he’s always been part of it, having grown up driving nurse trucks for his dad, a fertilizer plant manager, and even after he graduated Illinois State University with an accounting degree up to now, working as a hired man running auger carts, driving trucks and doing tillage for farmers across central Illinois.
Likewise, he knows about the community this store is serving because he’s been part of it. “I went to high school here in Taylorville. From the moment Jenner Ag acquired this location six years ago, I have had a deep desire for it to be successful,” he says. “I wanted to be able to step up and do whatever I can do to help make this the next big thing for the company and the Taylorville community.”
Part of how he plans to make that goal a reality is through the Jenner Ag management style and its key principal – communication. “I want our people to know that they’re making a difference every single day. One thing I try to make sure I do as part of that is to connect with team members daily,” says Clint. “Sometimes it’s as simple as a ‘How’s it going’ or ‘Is there anything I could be doing to help you?’ I just try to keep that constant line of communication open.” It’s easy for an associate to think nobody notices the work they put in. He wants each team member to know he spends a lot of time noticing and making sure those efforts are appreciated.
At the end of the day, Clint believes that growing up in the agriculture field has given him a sense of what it means to work with customers and be a part of that community. And that helps him do his job day to day. “What I love about this field is being surrounded by good, honest, hardworking people,” he says. “It’s an industry where people do what they say they are going to do, and they appreciate companies that do that same thing for them. That’s one of the things Jenner Ag does very well: We try to always keep our word.”
Precision technology evolves and changes faster than any other part of agriculture, and Andrei Hildenbrand, a Service Precision Support Specialist, is constantly looking for ways he can stay up to date and better serve his customers. Andrei has been working out of our Jenner Precision location for the past six years, and in that time, he has focused on finding new ways to stay current on technology and expand his knowledge of agriculture.
“Working at Jenner Precision has allowed me to gain knowledge on these products, more than just how they run. I have come to learn the agronomy behind what these machines accomplish,” says Andrei. “Growing up, I was fascinated by equipment and have always understood the mechanics behind how something runs, but Jenner Precision has allowed me to learn how certain products and equipment better serve a customer.”. He installs precision agriculture technology on planters and combines, handles steer systems on equipment and has a diverse knowledge of all precision vendors.
“I work with a variety of vendors from Precision Planting, Ag Leader and more,” says Andrei. Working with a variety of technology means you need to be on top of your game and in the know of the latest and greatest products. “I attend training yearly and try to go to as many trainings as I can to stay up to date. On my own time I read up to try to find out about what new products will be released in the coming year,” says Andrei. “I also learn new stuff every day just in what I do and being in the field and talking with growers.”
Andrei says his job is about more than just keeping current on his training and the newest technology – it’s also making sure he’s using that technology to meet his customers’ exact needs. “My favorite part of my job is having those conversations with customers to feel out their needs. If I know what their needs are, I can really pinpoint how we can exceed those needs,” says Andrei. “I observe my customers’ equipment and try to work out in my head what products we can provide them with that will help them maximize their profits and efficiency in the field.”
Andrei wants to exceed his customers’ expectations daily, and by doing that, he creates better relationships with them. He feels he is more than just an associate of Jenner Precision, and they are more than just customers. “I fully enjoy what I do, and that shows through my interactions with customers and my job performance.
Our Shipping Department makes life a little easier for everyone around Jenner Ag – and gives Jenner Nation customers the confidence of knowing they’ll have the right parts at the right time. That’s courtesy of Bill Kaufman, Shipping Manager, who has been here since the day Shipping became a department.
“They didn’t have a Shipping Department before I started; the day I started was basically the day it became a department,” says Bill. “Before I was here, each of the Parts people would pull their own orders off the shelf and ship parts out themselves. I like to think the Shipping Department makes life a little easier around Jenner Ag.”
Bill manages general shipping duties such as packing and pulling customer orders, organizing parts and finding new homes on shelves for new parts – it’s as much about inventory as it is about accuracy. “A big part of my job is making locations in our warehouse for parts that don’t have a designated spot,” he says. “With the creation of new machines comes new parts for those machines. We get parts that we’ve never had before, that don’t have a home on our shelves.”
Organizing new inventory and getting it into its designated home isn’t always an easy process, but it’s something Bill enjoys. “It’s a fun challenge I take on to make things easier for whoever goes to pull those parts for a customer’s order,” he says. Another large part of the job for Bill is returning parts. “I work on finding parts to return to Case or credit to inventory and reduce interest at the bank. Most of them come back from service techs; they come back into inventory because they aren’t using them. It’s amazing how many of those parts we don’t sell regularly – so in other words we don’t have a spot for it. So, I have to decide if we keep it or return it,” says Bill.
He acknowledges that being in the same department for 19 years and never being bored might make him an anomaly. “I have always loved my job,” says Bill. “I am one of the weird ones I guess. Jenner Ag keeps me busy; I like the variety of the shipping department. Every order is different, which is great, because I don’t think I could handle the repetition. I create lists for myself when I have extra time so I know what I can be working on to always be productive.”
Bill feels like being part of the Shipping Department for so many years has allowed him to gain an abundance of knowledge that he now gets to share. “I love to share my experiences with new people, not just those newcomers in my own department but throughout parts and service as well,” he says. “At the end of the day, I chalk all of our department’s success up to teamwork. Shipping isn’t the type of job where one person can do everything; it’s a team event, and I like being part of that team.
Carrie Molohon is a bit of a Jill of all trades around Jenner Ag. While her current job title is Service & Warranty Coordinator, she has worked with and in several departments in her four years with the company – and she continues to do so today.
Carrie started out in accounts receivable and from there moved to whole good billing and then to service warranty, as well as moving from our Harristown to our Taylorville location. That’s a lot to accomplish in just four years! “The thing I love about my current position is I have almost come full circle; I do a little bit of all the jobs I have worked in up to this point,” says Carrie. “I don’t think there are too many companies out there that will let employees move around within the company as much as I have gotten to in my time here.
She believes that movement has allowed her to gain knowledge in many different aspects of the company. “Working with multiple departments such as service, parts and accounting gives me a better understanding of the overall picture,” she says. “Not to mention I’m never bored.”
With an extensive workload and managing time working with many different departments, it would be easy to get overwhelmed. Carrie manages it all in stride and continues to keep everything running smoothly. She attributes her love of the job to the little things she hears on a daily basis. “I have worked with companies before where you work and work and never feel acknowledged. For me it’s that ‘thank you’ or ‘you’re doing a great job’ that you hear at Jenner Ag that makes the world of difference in how I perform every day,” she says. “I truly feel appreciated and important.”
At the end of the day, Carrie says coming to work isn’t a hardship when you feel not only acknowledged for your time but appreciated for who you are as a teammate. “The culture here makes us all feel like friends, a team – we truly work together as one."
“At Jenner Precision, our job is working with the latest in farming technology to help customers find solutions that fit their operations,” says Nate Kelson, Precision Ag Advisor with Jenner Precision for the past six years. Nate’s challenge is matching exceptional technology with customers’ existing equipment to give them a better bottom line. Jenner Precision’s goal is to help customers improve what they have with products that either lower their expenses or increase their income. Nate says he thrives on the challenge of trying to get somebody a higher return.
Precision ag technology is always evolving, says Nate, and it can be a full-time job to keep up with the latest and greatest advancements in this constantly changing environment. One way he stays on top of the ever-changing landscape is establishing close relationships with the vendors themselves. “Because of the strong relationships that we have with our vendors, I can spend time in the field with them and get hands-on experience understanding agriculture and the specific needs a crop has” says Nate. “These experiences allow me to be knowledgeable and give better advice to our customers.”
Another way Nate stays on top of his game is by meeting with growers face-to-face, whether that be in their shops or sitting around their tables. He has also been known to jump into cabs with customers while the product is being used in the field.
“In a cab, I get to watch the product work; I see what they are trying to do with their equipment, what they are trying to improve, and from there I can offer my opinion on what products we can put on their equipment to make the performance of the machine better,” says Nate. “After waiting a few weeks, I can then go back out and visit with them again to hear their stories on how that product is performing. At the end of the day the only way to know products are performing the way they are meant to, is to follow up with our customers.” It’s all in a typical workday, says Nate.
Darren Dalenberg is a face that’s been around Jenner Ag for years – 20 to be exact. While he’s currently Parts Director, he’s also worked as a field service tech, Service Director, VP of Operations for Jenner Precision and General Manager at our Ag store. It gives him the unique ability to view opportunities from the inside out in each of our three industry categories.
Darren says the knowledge helps him help team members really understand all aspects of what they’re doing on a daily basis. “I really enjoy seeing people grow, and I’m grateful I get to be a part of that growth,” he says. “I try to provide the team a better understanding of the back side of what they’re doing day to day on the front side of the business with the customer.”
In his current role, Darren helps the team make sure if a customer needs a part, we get them a part. He says that means thriving on finding solutions to seemingly unsolvable challenges. “Ask yourself, ‘How do we get a part that doesn’t exist?” he explains. “How can our team think outside the box and solve this? We don’t take shortcuts just to get the job done.”
To Darren, relationships get the job done no matter what – that’s what the Jenner Nation is about. “It’s those partnerships that have been built over a number of years with associates, customers and vendors, and it’s that drive to answer a phone call at 6 am or 9 pm for any one of those individuals just because they need your help with those challenges,” he says. “We’ve built the mindset that we want to be there for our partners, and we will strive to exceed in the other person’s eyes.”
Ben Thomas is a Jenner Nation member who has been a strong influence around the Service team for 10 years. Currently the Application Shop Foreman, he has filled a variety of roles and knows Service inside and out. Ben is known for being a hard worker and always making sure the job gets done. He goes to work every day with the goal of making the shop more efficient and productive, and he does whatever he can to make sure he meets that goal.
“In a typical day, I work on a wide range of tasks. I’ll assign work orders, go through recent sales orders; I even pull parts when I need to—anything and everything Jenner Ag needs from me to get the job done, I do,” says Ben. “I mostly work on the technical side of things. If someone can’t figure out what the issue is with a particular machine, I will take a look and run diagnostics.”
One of his main goals is making sure machines get finished for customers by the projected date. “I will work with the guys in the shop on how to find better and more effective ways to get stuff done, making us all more efficient as a whole,” he says. “The satisfaction I get from helping out a fellow employee or finding a solution to whatever is causing a machine to be down is rewarding.”
Ben says part of why he has been doing this for so long is that he enjoys what he does day to day. Every day is different. For example, even though it’s not technically in his job description, he goes out in the field when needed. “With planting season in full swing, if a machine breaks down in the field, and the guys can’t get to it as fast as we would like, I help out when I can,” he says. “I’ve been out in the field three or four times this year just helping our techs when I can.
“At Jenner Ag we all work together as one; it’s not just a saying, we really mean it. There’s no one saying, ‘That’s not in my job description.’ Everybody steps in when help is needed,” he explains. “We always go above and beyond to make sure our customers are up and running when they need to be.”
“I’ve been working on farm equipment for 35 years, and I’m still working every day to learn more. I try to know everything there is to know about our equipment; that’s my personal goal.” Being knowledgeable is only the beginning for Terry Norville, Ag Service Manager and U-Maxx Technician with Jenner Ag. He has been working on equipment since 1984 and prides himself on wanting to know everything he can when going into the field to help a customer with any problems they might encounter.
“My favorite part of my job is working with the equipment and being out and interacting with our customers. Being able to resolve any issue for them is rewarding,” he says, adding that even though he’s the face a customer sees in the field, he’s just one part of the team that makes it happen. Being a member of the Jenner Nation doesn’t just mean having to problem solve on your own. “Whenever you need assistance or help, there is always someone on your team you can work with to find a solution,” says Terry.
He believes the reason associates have that open line of communication with one another is due to management. “Jenner Ag at its core is a great company, working together. We have all three locations, Precision, Application and Agriculture, all working together to help customers throughout the whole season,” says Terry. “We used to have just the one location in Harristown, but we have expanded our expertise to be able to provide more services to our customers. We want to be able to help the customer through planting, growing and harvesting. We do this by assisting them with their parts, service and equipment all throughout the year – trying to meet any and all needs they might have.”
Terry says the goal as a company is to have all UPTIME and no downtime, and Jenner Nation means coming together to provide that for customers. That commitment doesn’t just stop at service; it extends to improving every day. “We pride ourselves on fixing problems in the field on first time visits,” says Terry. “One of the ways we do this is sending out surveys asking customers about what our technicians can improve on. Once we get their feedback, we really take that input to heart. I care about what our customers are saying and how they are rating our team. I want the customers to help us be the best we can be for them.”
Mark-isms have become part of daily communication at Jenner Ag – and after eight years, the guy behind them shows no signs of running out. Mark Hartman, sales director at Jenner Ag, operates by these strong pieces of advice and principles, and regularly shares them to help our associates build and maintain lasting relationships with not only customers but each other. First and foremost: “Everything you need to do to be successful is understand it’s all about the follow up and follow through,” says Mark. “I am always telling the sales staff that business grows as a result of the follow up.”
He goes on to explain that you can call and talk to all kinds of people to get your foot in the door, but if you make commitments to those customers and don’t follow through on those commitments, you will likely not do business with them again. “When you commit to do something for not only a customer, but fellow associates, you keep that promise. There is great importance behind doing what you say you’re going to do. That is part of what helps everyone at Jenner Ag feel like they belong to a great team,” Mark says. “I believe that principle is one of the many characteristics that sets our company apart.”
His favorite part of the job is helping associates become more knowledgeable about the business and watching as they grow into their roles. “It gives me great satisfaction to take a look at a member of our team who two years ago was just learning the business and is now turning in orders and managing a successful territory; that’s incredible,” says Mark. “Part of what makes that possible is the opportunities we have here. Associates are offered the chance to attend trainings on business principles, financial literacy, and specialized trainings pertaining to their individual departments. Working at Jenner Ag is like receiving a college education – and getting paid for it. Management and The Great Game of Business help us offer that.”
He believes the attitude that you encounter at Jenner Ag is an accumulation of every single associate feeling the heightened level of commitment and engagement that comes with enjoying your work. “Being a member of the Jenner Nation isn’t just about doing business. It’s about doing business with a partner that cares, operates with integrity, and lives up to our promises,” says Mark.
Most companies can’t claim 30 years of experience themselves, but Jenner Ag has a single employee with 30 years! Dave Schmidt, U-Maxx Service Technician, has been a crucial part of our service force for the past three decades. “Nowadays, they say the average amount of time someone works at a company is three to four years. I pride myself on being a part of the Jenner Ag team for three decades. I have seen how the company changes and adapts with the times to keep up with the needs of their customers,” he says.
Customer service is key, and no one knows that better than Dave. “The lesson that stands out the most from my 30 years at Jenner Ag is when a customer has an issue, the quicker you can address and resolve that issue, the better the business. I always tell people, don’t put things off, especially when it involves a customer. Bigger companies have a hard time addressing those issues fast; the team at Jenner Ag works to resolve issues as fast as we can for a better customer experience.”
Dave says being at one company so long allows him to learn the ins and out of not only the company but the industry as a whole. “My favorite part of my job is also what has taught me the most: running our machines and putting myself in the shoes of the operators,” he explains. “As a U-Maxx Tech, you are tasked with working on the machines, but you seldom get to go out and just enjoy using the machines for what they were built for. [Making a point to use] the equipment allows me to know what an operator does daily and helps me connect with that side of the business.
He believes you need to not only understand your customers but also your fellow associates. “It is good to know how a different department within the company is doing. Then you can understand better why a department is making the decisions that they are,” Dave says. “It helps you relate to other associates in different areas of the company and in turn gives you more knowledge about your own job.
Fully understanding both your customer base and the other members of your own team allows you to do your job to the best of your ability. “If you know what challenges your team is facing, it better prepares you to deal with anything that comes your way,” he says. “All of us at Jenner Ag are a team, but we are also more than that; we are a family. Jenner Nation means my business family to me; it’s that simple.”