Embracing Change in an Evolving Industry

When we caught up with Kent Holmes, he was busy at the Darke County Fair in Greenville, Ohio, representing Apple Farm Service, Inc., a four-store Case IH and New Holland dealership. With more than 200,000 people moving through the fairgrounds during its run, Kent and the rest of the team from the dealership were certainly busy.

It’s also something he didn’t envision himself doing four years ago, when he was still working in media advertising in Nashville, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. He says that he and his wife, Kari, got homesick and so moved back to Greenville, which they think is the perfect place to raise their daughter—among family and the community they grew up in.

Kent says he has also found a perfect fit for his talents at the family-owned dealership, based in Covington, Ohio. For the past three years, he’s served as the marketing manager for Apple Farm Service, and says that he stays busy promoting the brands, working on advertising programs and dealership development, as well as overseeing the website and social-media outlets.

But perhaps what he enjoys most, he says, is that every day is different. “With a family-owned dealership, you get to wear so many hats,” he says. “I like the fast-paced atmosphere and the opportunity to embrace change.”

Preparing for the Future

Kent is preparing himself well for an evolving industry. He is working toward finishing his M.B.A. this coming year through Western Governors University. This online Master’s program, through the Salt Lake City-based university, allows him to work around his schedule and pursue classes at his own pace. That may mean studying at 5 AM before his daughter wakes up and work starts, but he’s happy to be able to juggle family, work and his studies.

To help him complete his educational goals, Kent has received a scholarship from the Equipment Dealers Foundation, which is also matched by Apple Farm Service. “I truly appreciate receiving this scholarship, and I hope I can give back in the same way the Foundation and Bill Apple have helped me out,” he says.

“Kent has always shown an ability to turn valuable insights from dealer group meetings into productive plans and viable business solutions,” says William Apple, president. “We fully anticipate he will use the newfound knowledge from his M.B.A. degree to contribute positively to Apple Farm Service.”

While he has a solid handle on certain parts of the business, like marketing, advertising and daily operations, he has enjoyed taking classes to fill in areas he says he didn’t know as much about. He now has a better understand of the business side of things like long-term forecasting and market trends. Putting these new skills to work will help him in his job and to keep Apple competitive, he says.

When he talks about his future, Kent is clear he’s here to stay in the ag business. “You can’t get more down-to-earth people than our customers. And in the end it’s about good relationships. We’re all in it together, and I look forward to what the future brings.

About the Scholarship

The EDF was established in 1988 to provide scholarship funding to help meet the industry’s needs for trained individuals. EDF also provides temporary assistance for dealerships and its employees affected by natural disasters. Learn more about EDF here.