For Nate Casady, it started with a 1969 Ford 8000 tractor. Doing a full restoration on it was a light-bulb moment for him; he knew this was something he wanted to do as a career.
And this was not just any tractor. “I’d watched my brother restore some tractors, and it looked interesting. But I wanted to do a restoration on something with a story,” says Nate. And so he did. This tractor started out on the floor of his great grandfather Duane Brinkman’s dealership. His grandfather, Bill, used it, and his dad, Todd, learned to drive a tractor on it. Then, in 2010, it was sold.
Fortunately, it came back up for sale in 2014 when Nate was in high school. “As I got more and more experience with the transmission work, engine work, hydraulic work and more basic and complex procedures required for a full restoration, I decided that someday I wanted to do this for a living,” he says.
After all the hard work he’s put into the restoration, the tractor is Nate’s pride and joy. And, of course, it is one of the reasons he is now in the Diesel Technology program at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa. Another reason is that he grew up around the family dealership, Central Iowa Farm Store, in Marshalltown, Iowa. His grandfather bought the business in 1972, and is now semi-retired, and his father has ownership in it and works alongside Nate’s mother, Cherie, and brother, Tyler. His uncle Ryan, oversees the location in Webster City.
To help him on his educational path, he has received a scholarship from the Equipment Dealers Foundation, which is also matched by Central Iowa Farm Store. “I’m so thankful for this scholarship,” says Nate. “All I want to do is work on equipment. And if I manage to graduate with less debt, I’ll be able to purchase tools that will help me advance and succeed in this industry.”
While Nate started long ago at the dealership sweeping floors, he now knows his education and dedication will help him become part of the team of 10 technicians who work in the two locations. “What I’m looking forward to most,” he says, “is being productive and having a regular schedule.” He wants to work toward becoming a service manager someday, and eventually he and his brother plan on taking over the family dealership.
His dad is looking forward to having him return as a technician as well. “Nate has shown outstanding potential with the things he has already accomplished, and we look forward to him advancing in our dealership through the years,” says Todd.
Nate also recommends this work for anyone who may be “the least bit” interested. “The world is saturated with students in four-year colleges, in a lot of debt, who can’t find a job,” he says. “I’m in a class of 32, and not a single one isn’t employed. That’s how much demand there is.”
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.