Tinkering Turns Into a Career

Since he was young, Gannon Grauerholz remembers tinkering and fixing equipment on his parents’ farm in Beloit, Kansas. While the family raised cattle, along with wheat and soybean, he admits his interests went in a different direction—“tearing equipment apart,” as he puts it.

When the local mechanic would come out and work on the equipment at his family’s farm, Gannon would follow him around to see what he was up to and how he did his work. “He mentored me, and sometimes I’d go to his shop as well,” he says.

That interest turned into more than tinkering when he was in high school. His junior and senior year, he took an automotive tech class that he enjoyed and says his teacher inspired him to pursue the next step. After high school, Gannon enrolled in North Central Kansas Technical College in Beloit and started the two-year agriculture equipment technician program.

“Some people think I’m crazy—that I could be sitting in an airconditioned tractor, but instead I’m outside fixing them. But I love it,” says Gannon.

Learning While Studying

Shortly after he started school, he got a call from the folks he knew at his local dealership Carrico Implement Company Inc. in Beloit. They had heard about Gannon’s career plans and asked if he’d like to work there part time alongside their technicians while he attended school.

“It’s where I’d always gone for parts, and I knew everybody there, so I started under one of the technicians, working on whatever they needed me to from hydraulic values and cylinders to combines,” he says. “Whenever I wasn’t in school, I was at the dealership.”

And he’s thankful for the scholarship he received in support of his education from the Equipment Dealers Foundation, which was matched by Carrico Implement. “It’s awesome,” Gannon says. “I’ve never received anything like this, and it means a lot to me.”

Having finished up his Associates degree this May, he says he’s ready to continue working at Carrico, honing his skills alongside the veteran technicians. Those at the dealership are happy to have him. “We are thrilled with this decision, as we have seen much growth in Gannon as an intern, and we see tremendous potential,” says Brandy Goddard, human resources manager at Carrico Implement.

Gannon also encourages others to think about this path for their career. His advice: “You’re going to have to work hard, ask a lot of questions, do what it takes, and learn the hard way.” And the by hard way he means that you’ll definitely learn from your mistakes when you “mess up, but a great way to learn is to watch what the veterans do, how these guys get things done,” he adds.

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.