Every day is different. That’s why Evan Thomas loves what he does and wants to stay in agriculture as his career. While he didn’t grow up on a farm, this Neosho, Wis. native spent a good deal of his teenage years working on a local dairy farm, Tin Valley Farm. That meant everything from helping milk 240 cows, to operating the equipment, to general farm work.
“It’s something I really enjoyed, and so I decided to go down this creative path,” he says. That path includes attending the John Deere Tech program at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wis., with the support and sponsorship of Mid-State Equipment dealership in Jackson, Wis.
The tech program and the dealership are a good fit for Evan. As he heads into his second year of school, he has gotten into the rhythm of three months of school, then three months of work at Mid-State Equipment. “I really like the people that I work with,” he says. “And I work as much as I can in order to learn as much as I’m able from the other technicians.” In addition, he says he enjoys gaining a range of experience with everything he’s working on, from harvesters and tractors, to lawn and garden equipment.
And those at Mid-State Equipment agree. “Evan is eager to learn new applications from our senior techs, who continually want to work with him. His work ethic is second to none, and we’re a better company having employees like Evan coming up the ranks to fulfill future opportunities,” says Matthew Gordon, HR director for the company.
A Bright Future
School continues to challenge Evan—in positive ways, as he works through the different units and gains certifications in areas such as hydraulics, engines and air conditioning. “I love understanding how systems work together, and I also like the problem-solving aspect—helping people with the problems they have.”
To help him with his education goals of getting an Associates Degree in Applied Science, Evan received a scholarship from the Equipment Dealers Foundation, which was matched by Mid-State Equipment. “I was very excited when I heard I’d gotten the scholarship,” he says. “It’s so nice to have it for school, and it helps ease the financial burden, especially with all the tools I need to buy.”
After school, Evan plans to continue on his path with the agricultural equipment industry and Mid-State Equipment. He also wants to continue helping out on the dairy farm, as it will help him become a better technician. “I enjoy it and it helps me better understand the equipment that I’m working on, how it should operate and what issues an operator might run into in the field.” he says.
Evan also encourages others to look into this career path, especially given the potential it has. “Don’t be afraid to ‘cold call’ a dealership to see if they are looking for people. My program only has three other students, so they are always looking for more,” he says.
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 their employees affected by natural disasters. Learn more about EDF here.