John Deere has honoured its best technicians at an awards night in Brisbane
As far as career highlights go, Friday night will be hard to surpass for parts technician Jaymee Ireland.
Ireland, at just 22, was named the Australian Ag Service Technician of the Year at the second annual John Deere Technician Awards.
But as Ireland accepted her award on stage in front of hundreds of industry peers in attendance, her recognition may be anything but surprising.
Growing up in Queensland’s far north, Ireland was immersed into the agricultural landscape through her grandfather, Charlie Brischetto, a sugarcane farmer. Ireland would take rides on the cane harvester through the field – something which she recalls as a fond memory in her formative years.
“They were scary machines when I was a kid, but it was awesome and I loved it,” Ireland says.
Her penchant for all things agriculture and machinery continued throughout school where she did machinery subjects where possible and before completing a certificate two in aviation maintenance.
Her story evolved further when she relocated to Kangaroo Island in South Australia where agriculture dominated the mechanical landscape. It was there when a position with John Deere became available.
“The position with John Deere was going and so I applied, and I’ve loved it ever since. It was what I needed to do,” she says.
Fast forward to now and Ireland, who is employed by Emmetts Roseworthy in South Australia, has been recognised among her industry contemporaries among the best at what she does.
She was judged against more than 100 award nomination from Australia and New Zealand and edged out four other regional finalists from around the country to take out the coveted award.
Ireland was among eight award winners from the night, which aimed at championing the skill and education of high-performing technicians who ensure operators achieve the best possible performance for their equipment.
The role of the technician, Ireland says, is pivotal to the livelihood of Australian farmers and the success of the country’s agricultural industry.
“I think our job is very important,” she says, “we need to keep our farmers farming.”
“If their machine breaks down and they can’t fix it, then they can’t get their crop off or they can seed, they can’t plough. We need to make sure we can fix their machines in time to keep everything running.
“All technicians work incredibly hard so it’s special to see that effort being recognised.
“Being a John Deere technician can be so rewarding as you know you are helping out farmers maximise their uptime and get the most out of their machines. It’s always a great feeling when you can tell a customer is really happy with your work.
“For me, it was an hour just to be nominated for the award.”
Ireland also says the continual evolution of the technology within the industry has altered what is required from technicians on the job.
“It has definitely evolved a lot. We have other technicians at our dealership who have been there for over 20 years and the technology that is coming in has changed a lot and is more technical,” she said.
“There’s always something new to learn and John Deere is always bringing out something new. There is always training too though so we always get a lot of support from John Deere on their machines.”
“Everything in the industry is going more towards autonomous equipment but there will still be a need for technicians. It’ll be hard but I love a challenge.”
Award winners were selected from over 100 nominations across Australia and New Zealand. From that, 35 regional finalists were tested across customer service skills, tool utilisation and a practical diagnostic.
The finalists were judged by 22 assessors against 105 assessment items.
John Deere Australia and New Zealand managing director Luke Chandler congratulated Ireland and the other seven award recipients on their achievement.
“This year’s winners all share extensive technical expertise and a true passion for their work, which made them clear standouts to our panel of judges,” Mr Chandler said.
“People like Jaymee, who are dedicated to supporting operators get the most of out of their equipment, embody the exciting role of a tech, which is ever evolving as the agriculture, turf construction and forestry industries increase their adoption of sophisticated and highly efficient machinery.”
Among the other winners was Brandt Terang parts manager Sarah Lewis, who was named the Australian Parts Technician of the Year.
“As a parts technician, each day I am supporting customers by giving them confidence they are receiving the right parts as timely as possible for their operation. This ensures their operation can be up and running 24-hours a day,” Lewis says.
2022 John Deere Technician Award Winners
Parts Apprentice of the Year
Mitchell Channer, AFGRI Equipment
Service Apprentice of the Year
Logan Robertson, Southland Farm Machinery (New Zealand)
Parts Technician of the Year
Sarah Lewis, Brandt (Australia)
Megan Tree, Southland Farm Machinery (New Zealand)
Turf Technician of the Year
Adam Kent, Brandt
Construction & Forestry Technician of the Year
Max O’Brien, RDO Equipment
Ag Service Technician of the Year
Jaymee Ireland, Emmetts (Australia)
Greg Bishop, Southland Farm Machinery (New Zealand)