Chase Tew is John Deere’s Product Line Marketing Manager for B2B mowing. A graduate of NC State, he’s based out of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina.
How did you get into the industry?
I grew up in a small agriculture-related business. I went to NC State to study Ag Engineering and Ag Business. At the time, John Deere had just finished construction of a factory in North Carolina, and I applied for the job at John Deere Turf Care where we make all of our commercial turf and golf products. That’s been over 23 years ago.
What is it like working for John Deere?
It’s definitely an iconic American company. It’s the people who make the brand. We’ve got great external dealers who represent our brand in local communities and with great customer segments like farming, construction and landscape contractors. Internally, we have a new CEO who is creating a culture for the future. We’re a 190-year-old company but our focus is on innovation. As an enterprise, we spend somewhere in the excess of $1 million a day in R&D. We have to be faster and more nimble and take more calculated risks.
How big is the company?
We are a global company with a presence all over the world. We have around 11,000 dealers and nearly 70,000 employees worldwide.
When did John Deere get into the landscaping business?
Although we are 184-years-old, we’ve only been in the landscaping space for 25 years. We want to continue to grow, expand and show our commitment to making the lives of landscapers better.
What is the biggest issue facing the industry?
Workforce, without a question.
How does John Deere help make the workforce more efficient?
We want to keep our end-users productive and running on a day-to-day basis. Back in 2014 we worked with Michelin to design the Tweel tire so crews never had to deal with a flat tire ever again. We want to keep the operator comfortable and more ergonomic when they’re out mowing. We’ve invested in new seats, something we call comfort glide technology.
What would make the landscaping industry better?
I think increasing efficiencies. For the business owner, that means advances in business systems that help companies run more efficiently and track labor, productivity and key performance indicators. For the operator, it’s preventing disruptions, promoting uptime through design, minimizing downtime and extending service internals.
How has COVID impacted the business?
For most states, landscapers were deemed essential workers which was a great position to be in compared to some other industries. The fact that they work outside and need to continue to maintain public and private spaces for safety issues has been advantageous. But we’ve also seen some supply chain challenges that all OPEI members are dealing with right now.
What are you most proud of?
I love what I do. I really like the product design side, because you spend a lot of time with the end-use customer and get to stand in their shoes. I love coming up with solutions to help solve their problems, like the Tweel tire.