James Fehr, VP of National Accounts, has been a proud member of the Jenner Nation for 21 years. He has held various positions within the company and continues to work toward a better future for the organization, its customers and the industry. James says he is proof of one of the greatest aspects of Jenner Ag. “The opportunities to grow at Jenner Ag are endless; I am a perfect example of that,” says James. “I started as an account manager associate, then became a senior account manager. From there, I went on to be a sales director and general manager. Now, I have the ability to get back into sales, managing relationships with our national accounts.”
James believes that Jenner Ag offers associates the room for growth if they are willing to put in the commitment and work it takes to achieve their goals. “We are big enough that we have those opportunities for advancement, but we are small enough you can communicate your desire to change positions, and we are always looking to grow within," said James.
“One of the most rewarding mantras I have taken away from my time at Jenner Ag was in the form of a saying I was taught: The ball never hits the ground,” James says. "What that means is that when we have a situation, there are always multiple people that step up, so that the ball never hits the ground.
“That is something I have personally experienced, whether it be when I had a situation that I couldn’t solve on my own and someone from our team helped me, or when I was able to step up and work with someone else to help them,” he explains. “The relationships we have with our customers are all possible due to the extraordinary team we have at Jenner Ag and the team members working behind the scenes to meet their exact needs.”
Joel Harmon says being a Field Service Technician at Jenner Ag isn’t like your average job – and he should know; he’s been doing it for 14 years. “I can be 200 miles from the main office on a normal day. Being that far away from management puts a lot of responsibility on the individual, which has helped me grow as my own person,” says Joel. “I am responsible for managing my time, truck, and the relationships I have with not only my customers, but my fellow coworkers. Being a self-motivated individual, this type of atmosphere is perfect for me.”
Joel’s favorite part of working at Jenner Ag is the trust given to its associates, and the service technicians in particular. “We don’t do the typical the service manager to service technician protocol here. Each technician deals directly with their customers instead of our managers being involved in every interaction,” he says. “This creates an environment where technicians can build a better level of trust with customers and operators.”
Joel believes the level of trust Jenner Ag allows customers to build with their service techs opens the door for better and stronger relationships. “Dealing directly with my customers and not having to work through a middle man has allowed me to call my customers friends. They have come to rely on my help and advice to get them through their work that needs to be done. Our communication and understanding with customers is all one-on-one, and that makes a difference in the way customers view Jenner Ag service technicians.
“We can do our jobs the way we know how, and they trust us to get the job done,” says Joel. “But, management is approachable if we need help or there is an issue. We are all on the same team, and you constantly see that. I really respect the way Jenner Ag runs. The transparency and open-book management creates more trust. We are never sidelined by some decision that comes out of the blue and affects the direction of the company. There is a sense of comfort in that,” says Joel. “Jenner Ag gives you the freedom to excel at your position, but the opportunity to constantly receive new training and ask management for help if you need it.”
Jenner Ag takes great pride in associates who go above and beyond to really make those connections with each other and customers. Melissa Williams, Parts Specialist, is one of those associates who in her two years at the company has shown the motivation the Jenner Nation prides itself on. “Being a member of the Jenner Nation has changed everything about the way I do my job in the day to day,” says Melissa. “They educate us on various topics and skills such as: parts knowledge, business and financial knowledge, interpersonal relationship management and communications tactics. There aren’t a lot of topics Jenner Ag doesn’t cover; we are constantly being educated. It’s almost like getting a free college education.”
One extraordinary task Melissa completed in 2018 was achieving $2 million in parts sales. “Everyone at Jenner Ag has been extremely proud of me for achieving that goal. Not only have I received recognition in meetings and pats on the back; I remember when it happened getting a giant cupcake with whipped cream and a cherry on top from another associate,” says Melissa.
“As a Parts Sales Specialist, achieving more in parts sales is great, but it’s nothing compared to the long-lasting relationships I’m building with customers when making the sales,” says Melissa. Selling isn’t only about communication skills, she says; receiving the technical training necessary to help customers is also a must. “My $2 million in sales was made possible by a combination of things. To start with, I had to have a mixture of relationships built with customers and the latest industry knowledge to back it up.”
Melissa says that while relationships with customers are crucial, if you don’t have the industry knowledge to answer questions, you won’t make the sales. “I can be best friends with a customer, but if I don’t know what I’m talking about, no one will want to buy parts from me,” says Melissa. “The continuous training Jenner Ag offers allows associates to stay current and up to date on the latest information.”
Melissa says her success is in part due all she has learned at Jenner Ag. “Associates should take the company up on any offer of education that is given to them. Anyone who works here and isn’t thrilled to participate in meetings and take every class that you can isn’t living up to their full potential,” says Melissa. “Trust me when I say, no other company offers this to the same extent. I’ve worked at a lot of different places, and none of them came close to this. When I first started, I had to convince myself it all wasn’t too good to be true.”
When you work at a company that practices transparency the way Jenner Ag does, you need someone to help communicate one of the basic building blocks of any company: the financials. Melissa Koehler is one of the many members of Jenner Nation who share their knowledge with associates, so everyone can understand and be empowered to think and act as owners.
As Corporate Controller, Melissa works closely with the financials of the company. “Coming from an accounting firm, I had a hard time at first explaining to people how to look at tax codes or work with the numbers on their own, and working at Jenner Ag, I learned how to communicate and relay my knowledge in a way other people can understand,” says Melissa.
“Jenner Ag has helped me learn how to effectively teach and share my knowledge with the associates about what the numbers mean and how they can affect those numbers every day. Associates are always eager to learn about the financials and striving to gain that knowledge to better understand the numbers.”
Knowledge sharing just is one of the ways Jenner Ag brings its associates together, Melissa says. Having different departments’ team members interact and discuss ideas on what we can do to maintain and improve the numbers is always something a company should encourage.
“It’s a culture of growth and knowledge sharing. I believe it brings out leadership in everyone. Not just the managers; it gives everyone the tools it takes to be a leader, myself included,” says Melissa.
Weston Stork, Field Service Technician, is a proud five-year member of Jenner Nation at our Jenner Precision location. “We have a great environment here at Jenner Ag; whenever a new employee starts, they talk about how their old bosses or fellow employees could be aggressive and hard to get along with. You just don’t hear of that happening here; all the managers encourage us to communicate with them and each other,” says Weston.
With Jenner Ag having three separate locations covering different aspects of the industry, it’s important to stay connected. “Just last week I worked with a fellow employee located out of our Harristown office. We were working on a sprayer that was running both application and precision equipment; without both of us there offering our specific expertise, it wouldn’t have gone as smoothly,” he says.
“Jenner Ag encourages all of us to meet our full potential, both individually and as a unit. Since my employment at Jenner Ag began, I have been encouraged to step outside of my shell. I have been told that just because I have a certain job title doesn’t mean that particular skillset is all I can offer the company,” Weston says.
He adds that one aspect of Jenner Ag that allows all three locations to run as a cohesive team is the fact that Jenner Ag plays the Great Game of Business (GGOB). “Other companies in the agriculture industry don’t play the GGOB; that is one of the things that sets us apart,” he says. “The Game brings a level of transparency that creates an open flow of information. We see the financials of the company; we know what upper management is doing with income. It creates an accountability, but it also creates a bond.” A bond that Weston says helps every member of that team work together as one.
For Jeff Rocke, education – inside and in the field – sets Jenner Ag apart from the rest. “When I started, I knew nothing,” says Jeff Rocke Senior Account Manager. “There was always somebody at Jenner Ag who had the answer and was willing to help me – there still is. That’s what makes Jenner Ag such a successful company; they create an environment where their employees are a family by encouraging them to work together and meet goals as a team.”
Jeff says the culture is like no other, and keeping promises to customers is non-negotiable. “One of the things I have taken away from Jenner Ag culture is ‘Be your word,’” he says. “Our CEO has said that; my superiors have said that, time and time again. It’s what we strive for.”
And being able to keep your word to customers isn’t a one-person job, says Jeff. “When I’m the only person from Jenner Ag that customers see out in the field, they expect those promises I made them to be kept,” he says. “Having people around me that help me to be my word and other employees that are their word makes it easier to do a quality job and keep those promises.”
It’s not just a sale, he says, it’s the start of a relationship. “We do a good job of building relationships with customers. I can sell anybody a machine one time, but if everybody in the company doesn’t take care of that customer from Sales to Parts, Service, Accounting and Administration, and we don’t value their relationship with us, I won’t ever sell them another machine,” Jeff says. “It’s the customer satisfaction that allows us to know it’s not just selling this machine; it’s when 10 years down the road they need another machine, they look to us versus competitors because we valued their relationship.”
Maintaining relationships with customers is possible in large part because of the transparency Jenner Ag offers, Jeff explains. “We always know where the company is at financially; we always know the goals we are striving to hit,” he says. “The transparency is something I don’t think you find anywhere else. You don’t have a clue what the company is up to at a lot of places; previous employers that I had don’t set goals for what you need to hit at the end of each quarter or year. Once you understand the culture and why we do things the way we do, it’s the greatest learning experience. You’ll never find another company that matches what we do.”
Parts Director Jessica Armentrout has not only worked for Jenner Ag for a decade, she’s become a key component of the culture. Jessica is a part of the Jenner Ag Team, who through hard work and determination has made her way from Application parts specialist to leading the Ag Group’s parts department and has continued to strive to make Jenner Ag one of those extraordinary places to work. “Not many people can say that they wake up and have a place that makes them want to go into to work,” says Jessica. “Everybody at Jenner Ag is like a family, all working towards a common goal.”
She says one of the practices that makes Jenner Ag the company it has become is playing The Great Game of Business, an employee empowerment program and business driver. “We are taught to think and act like an owner. You can choose to go work and just do your job and perform while constantly going to the boss and asking for specific answers, or you can allow this game to teach you to think on your own and be a person to make decisions and understand why that decision is important. You learn how you can affect that bottom dollar each day,” Jessica says.
This practice helps each member of the company understand what is happening and how they can make an impact going forward. The Great Game of Business keeps employees well informed on the ins and outs of the company. “We all know day to day what we need to be focusing on, and that keeps everyone aligned on the same page. Jenner Ag keeps you in the loop, and this helps the employees stay interested in the company’s goals,” says Jessica.
Jessica says that after her years spent with Jenner Ag, the best advice she could give a new team member would be get involved and make yourself a part of the family. It will help you in your day-to-day activities. She believes Jenner Ag striving for each member of the team to be able to participate in various aspects of the company is what makes them a top contender in the agriculture world. “Jenner Ag isn’t like most normal companies; they choose not to keep you in the dark about what is happening,” Jessica says . “They want you to be aware, so you can make a difference.”
Working for Jenner Ag means you aren’t just an employee; you are the face of a nation—Jenner Nation. A company that is constantly working to better its employees lives and careers. It’s one of the many reasons Jeff Reeter, Service Director, has worked at Jenner Ag for nine years. Jeff started as a shop tech and worked his way up to shop foreman. For the last seven years, he has been Service Director.
Jeff wants people to know that Jenner Nation is more than just words; it’s a way of business. “We work together as one to support customers across all product lines,” says Jeff. “It’s a great feeling to know that we don’t have to tell a customer we can only work on one piece of equipment – we can work on everything he has. We are the ag people you want to deal with,” says Jeff.
He says the open-book culture of transparency and consistent communication makes sure the whole team has their eye on the same goals and numbers. Helping not only the employees better themselves but allowing them to better serve their customers. “When I see people step outside their comfort zone and do the things they didn’t think they could, like talking about business numbers as a service tech, that makes me feel good,” says Reeter. “Jenner has given me the confidence and ability to accomplish things I didn’t think I was capable of. With the company’s consistent communication, I feel like I matter,” he says.
Do you want to be part of a company, or do you want to be part of a partnership?