Williams Tractor is a diversified dealer organization based in Fayetteville, Ark., with two power sports stores, two locations devoted to row-crop farmers, a construction-only store and their first two dealerships that cater to rural lifestyle customers and livestock producers.
The dealership is our 2017 Season-to-Season profile. Here's an excerpt of the feature that appeared in Rural Lifestyle Dealer's spring 2017 issue on maximizing the impact of seasonal employees.
Randy Huck, Williams Tractor’s service manager at the flagship Fayetteville, Ark., store for 23 years, just experienced another winter where his shop was busy for the entire season. With the rush of spring business approaching, he’s now screening additional employees to fill the void and gearing up the mobile service vehicles.
Huck’s main source of seasonal employees is Northwest Technical Institute (NTI), based in Springdale, Ark. He has served on the school’s advisory board for over 20 years, despite the fact that he says their program targets students who aren’t aiming at careers in equipment service.
“NTI has a diesel shop that is focused on truck repair, but they do accept training projects from agriculture. For instance, if a farmer has a breakdown, they’ll repair it in exchange for a donation to the student organization so students may get some equipment experience. We’ve seen students come in here focusing on a career in trucking and after being exposed to farm or industrial equipment decide that they’re interested in those fields. The instructors at NTI then try to direct them to work at a business that specializes in those products to see if that’s the way they want to go,” says Huck.
Todd Tokar, assistant service manager, looks elsewhere for good seasonal help. “I’m active in the Fayetteville High School Apprenticeship Program, so I have some good contacts there,” Tokar says. “Our dealership is known at the University of Arkansas as well. We regularly donate parts or project material to their agricultural mechanization program.
“We want to get the word out that we’re a good place to work and can give students a lot of ‘hands on’ experience they may not get in a classroom. Honestly, we’ve never really had to find students who want seasonal work. About mid-May, we’ll start seeing a bunch of kids applying, because they’re being sent down here by their professors or high school ag teachers.”