Cole Dial found that the “boot fit” when he decided to pursue a career in agriculture. He grew up around his grandfather’s farm, in the Louisville, Ill. area. Plus, his grandfather was an International Harvester dealer technician, and his father is a John Deere parts salesman. Now it’s a career path Cole wants to explore as well.

To that end, he is attending the John Deere Tech Program at Lake Land College, in Mattoon, Ill., and will pursue an Associate’s Degree in Applied Sciences. To help him with his educational goals, he has received a scholarship from the Equipment Dealers Foundation, which has been matched by the Wm. Nobbe & Co. dealership in Flora, Ill., where he works, as does his father.

The scholarship will help keep Cole on his career path: “I’d like to thank everyone for this opportunity, including the dealership match, and I want them to know how much the scholarship will help me out.”

Although Cole is new to the tech program, he already has experience in the field, having started at the dealership last summer. He continued working there through his senior year of high school with the co-op program. That meant school in the morning, and then transitioning to the dealership to work and learn beside other technicians in the afternoon. “I started out in the lawn division, and then moved on to some of the older tractors and combines,” says Cole “In winter, I helped set up new equipment.” Once the John Deere Tech program begins in fall, he’ll continue with the combination of study and hands-on work at the dealership.

It’s About the Community

When we caught up with Cole for this interview, he was out in the field planting, but not just any field. It was the Future Farmers of America plot at the high school where he recently graduated. This type of community work is encouraged and supported by the Wm. Nobbe dealership and makes Cole’s position there a perfect fit. “I really like handling equipment and interacting with the local community,” he says. “I’m excited to experience all the new stuff coming up and to help out where I’m needed.”

Those at the dealership agree that Cole is a good fit. “I have great respect for Cole. He’s a reliable employee and will do whatever it takes to get the job done,” says Anthony Ruesken, service manager at the dealership. “He’s expressed his desire to become a knowledgeable John Deere technician and to keep advancing within the company.”

After he finishes school, Cole plans to continue at the dealership, as he sees opportunities for growth: “You get to go as far as you want to take it, if you put in the effort and are motivated.” And that, he says, is a key to success for others looking to pursue a career like his: “If you put in the effort, you’ll reap what you sow.”

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.