A GREAT AGE OF TECHNOLOGY

Don Schaefer

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Ilove my job.

I’ve been fortunate enough throughout my engineering career to develop many kinds of technology. Today, in my role as Chief Technology Officer at IntelliFarms, I’m still working to design, create and rollout new products for the Ag Industry. And at our headquarters in Archie, MO, I get the bonus of mentoring an extremely talented staff of engineers.

But this is an especially exciting time for an electronic engineering “geek” like me. Electronics and computer technology are getting faster, more accurate, less power-hungry and smaller. Those attributes translate directly into the newer products that we are working on. Design tools, like CAD software and 3-D printers accelerate the development process. As far as our web-only products and the web component of our physical products—there is a revolution going on in server processing and storage which, again, allows us to add products, capabilities and speed that was not possible a few years ago.

However, the technology is only half of what inspires me. The real fun is putting that technology to good use. In our company, the engineers know that their best efforts are going toward helping today’s farmers get the best value for their stored grain, or get the best information for making solid business decisions, especially when grain market prices are as they are. Each engineer see himself as a bit of an entrepreneur, and we have tremendous respect for other successful entrepreneurs, like farmers.

So, if you want to really make my day, then:

  • Show me a chart illustrating how grain has dried down in a BinManager-controlled grain bin to the exact moisture content the user specified. I never get tired of this one.
  • Show me the falling warranty costs over the years—it’s not the cost savings, it’s the satisfaction that our customers can count on us.
  • Tell me how a new customer was “sold” by the testimony of his neighbor, a long-time customer.
  • Tell me about how we can add a feature to solve another issue a customer may have.
  • Take me to the shipping dock and show me a record day’s production—it’s not the sales, it’s the visible result of many people’s efforts coming together to make products of value that I enjoy.
  • Tell me about the competition. I love beating those guys.
  • Ask me if our products can be enhanced to do some new task. That’s when I get to search out new technology and see if we can upgrade the current products or develop a new one.

So I love my job. And I’ve been at it long enough to get good at it! I have a great staff whom I trust and who trusts me. We share the same sources of inspiration, which makes it really fun to go to work. It really is a great age.