Second-year parts apprentice at AFGRI Equipment Narrogin, Poppy Blohm, is John Deere Australia's Parts Apprentice of the Year.
From Perth and proof you do not need an agricultural background to succeed in an agricultural business, she was one of four Australian and three New Zealand winners at the third annual John Deere Technician of the Year Awards presented at a gala dinner in Brisbane, Queensland, recently.
Ms Blohm was one of three WA AFGRI employees nominated in the seven award categories and won the award ahead of third-year parts apprentices from Queensland and New South Wales dealerships, another second-year apprentice from Queensland and a first-year from South Australia.
She was very surprised and overwhelmed to win the award, given the range of skills and rural backgrounds of the other finalists in her category.
"All the finalists I was competing against have incredible knowledge and it's been great to see how smart and how switched on they are," Ms Blohm said.
"It is so rewarding working with people who have the same interests and making strong relationships with both colleagues and our farmer customers.
"It is just so awesome to try your heart out and to be recognised for that - it is so fulfilling.
"It means that people recognise what I do and (by nominating me) they are saying 'I appreciate what you do for me' and I love that."
Originally from Perth and without a background in agriculture, nevertheless Ms Blohm saw opportunities in the sector and was prepared to move to Narrogin when she applied and gained an apprenticeship with AFGRI there.
She now champions the critical role John Deere machinery plays in supporting local farmers and their businesses and her enthusiasm has been recognised as making her a great role model for other young people considering a career in agriculture.
Other award winners were:
- John Deere Australian Agriculture & Turf Service Technician of the Year, Lachlan Corridan, Haeusler's, Sea Lake, Victoria.
- John Deere Australian Parts Technician of the Year, Sarah Lewis, Brandt, Terang, Victoria, who also won the same award last year and is the first back-to-back award winner.
- John Deere Service Apprentice of the Year, Darcy Miller, Honeycombes, Ayr, Queensland.
- New Zealand Agriculture & Turf Service Technician of the Year, Bryce Dickson, Brandt, Whangarei, North Island.
- New Zealand Parts Technician of the Year, Jimmy O'Donnell, Drummond & Etheridge, Blenheim, South Island.
- Construction & Forestry Technician of the Year, Mark Haughton, Drummond & Etheridge, Rolleston, South Island.
John Deere Australia and New Zealand managing director Luke Chandler congratulated each of the Australian winners and emphasised how important their work was to prosperous industries and local communities.
"Lachlan, Sarah, Darcy and Poppy have demonstrated exemplary performance among a high calibre field of finalists and should be incredibly proud of their efforts in taking home their respective awards," Mr Chandler said.
"There can only be one winner in each category, however after meeting many of the technicians in Brisbane over the past few days, it's clear we have a terrific pipeline of talent servicing John Deere equipment and supporting our customers across the country.
"I would also like to acknowledge the New Zealand winners, Bryce Dickson, Jimmy O'Donnell and Mark Haughton for their achievements."
Established in 2021, the awards champion the important contribution John Deere technicians make to the Australian and New Zealand agriculture, construction and forestry industries and honour outstanding service and support highly-skilled and committed technicians provide to the lives and businesses of John Deere customers.
Mr Chandler said technicians delivered services integral to success by providing highly skilled back-up support and remote diagnostics to ensure optimal machine performance.
"With technological advances driving industry growth, future demand for technicians across rural and regional Australia continues to increase," he said.
"It is important for us to recognise and reward our John Deere technicians for striving for excellence and the important contribution they make to the industries they service."
More than 100 technicians were nominated by their dealerships this year, with input from customers.
Thirty finalists travelled to the company's Australian headquarters in Brisbane to go through a rigorous assessment process, testing diagnostic capabilities, technical knowledge and customer service skills.
- To find out more about positions with John Deere dealerships see deere.com.au/en/our-company/john- deere-careers/