Former Photocopier Technician Claims Top Honour
Jimmy O'Donnell spent 11 years servicing photocopiers, but it was a job ad printed in his local newspaper which sparked a new career.
He applied for the role as a Parts Technician at his local John Deere dealership — Drummond & Etheridge in Blenheim — and two years later has now been named the New Zealand Parts Technician of the Year at the 2023 John Deere Technician of the Year Awards.
"I'm still at an early stage of my career with John Deere, but I've just knuckled down and tried to do the best I can," Jimmy said.
"I'm stoked to win this award, and really proud to show it to my friends and family, as well as people back at the dealership!"
Jimmy's fascination with machinery started from an early age, particularly the graders, snow groomers and tractors on the ski field he grew up on.
As a John Deere Parts Technician, he's earned a reputation for his technical knowledge to the point customers request him to help with their parts issues.
"One of my favourite parts of the job is visiting customers onsite, meeting their teams and seeing how their operation runs," he said.
"It's very rewarding to build relationships with customers over time, and a nice feeling when they request me by name to source and secure parts for them.
"And sometimes I'll have a customer I haven't met before throw a curly parts issue at me, and after working through the issue and finding the right part for them they walk away super happy!"
Jimmy encouraged anyone thinking about getting into the industry, or making the career switch like he did, to visit their local John Deere dealership to explore the opportunities.
"Don't be afraid to give it a go," he said.
"It's interesting to learn all the different technologies John Deere are developing, as well as the capabilities of the different models. The sheer variety in this industry is incredible and means that no two days are the same.
"The camaraderie at the dealership is great. It's a very enjoyable place to work, with plenty of career development opportunities too.
"I'm glad I made the switch from photocopiers!"