For most people, getting involved with an association is as simple as signing up, going to events and perhaps volunteering to serve on a committee or two. Things were a bit different for Andy Williams, Corporate Business Manager at John Deere Construction & Forestry, when he got involved with NUCA. Williams was following in the footsteps of Deere’s Roger Mohr, whose decades-long involvement with the association made him a legend in the NUCA circle.
“It was back in 2014 that Roger, who was not my boss at the time, asked me to attend the NUCA Convention in Fort Lauderdale,” Williams recalls. “Since I live in Florida and it was easy for me to get to the event, I of course said yes. At the time I had no idea how deep Roger’s involvement had been. He was Deere’s NUCA representative for nearly 40 years, and it is certainly an honor to follow in his footsteps.”
Williams has been Deere’s leading NUCA representative since Mohr’s retirement in 2017, and has done his best to live up to the legacy. Williams is involved with several committees, chiefly the Workforce Development Committee, and is a regular attendee of NUCA functions including the NUCA Convention and Washington Summit.
For his dedication to the association and the industry at large, Williams was presented with NUCA Associate Member of the Year award at the Convention Feb. 4-6 at the Naples Grand Beach Resort in Naples, Florida.
His reaction, Williams says, was shock. “It came as a complete surprise,” he says. “I didn’t find out until two days before the reception when people started coming up to me offering congratulations. It’s overwhelming just to be considered for the award. It makes you feel good about all the time and effort you put in to the association, including times when you have to step out of your comfort zone.”
Williams’ involvement with Deere spans nearly 30 years, starting in Deere’s credit division before eventually moving to construction equipment credit back in 2000. From there he transitioned into the equipment division as a territory manager working in the Southeast United States. His first NUCA event was in 2014.
“The first convention I went to I was like a fly on the wall, just watching everybody interact for the first day, and then I starting meeting different people,” he says. “That fall I attended the NUCA Leadership Conference, and I have been to almost every event since with very few exceptions. I just kind of got integrated with NUCA.
“Since then NUCA has become family. I felt like I had a new group of friends, and customers who were involved with the association became closer to me as customers than they already were – guys like Bruce Wendorf, Ryan Schmitt and Lauren Atwell.”
So what makes NUCA unique? “It’s their openness and willingness to include people,” Williams says. “It doesn’t matter if you are a supplier that they do business with or don’t do business with. It’s a really unique organization because of how close everyone is, and it gives you the opportunity to interact with contractors that may buy someone else’s equipment.
Looking back at his participation, Williams cites his work on the Workforce Development Committee as among the most rewarding experience. “The Workforce Development Committee was one that I really wanted to be a part of because I see so many of my customers in the United States and Canada struggling with that issue, and it seems like no one has a solution,” he says. “But we are finally starting to see progress. What we found is that some of the local chapters were having success in different areas, but there was not a way to share that success across the entire membership. We have created a scholarship program to help encourage chapters to share their strategies and rewards them for out-of-the-box thinking. As we continue collecting data, we’ll be able to build a website that chapters can use a reference. They’ll be able to see what is working in other areas, and which ideas may work in their local area.”
So, what keeps Williams motivated after nearly 30 years with Deere? “It’s the customers,” he says. “I have always been in a customer-facing role with Deere, and I enjoy meeting customers and talking to customers about their business. I have learned that there are no two contractors alike. Although they share similar challenges, each company has unique aspects. In my role in marketing and sales, trying to help the dealer find solutions for contractors with unique needs has always been rewarding.”