Sometimes I find it hard to believe I’ve been at this machinery-writing gig for well over a decade now. Time certainly flies! Before Cory Bourdeaud’hui, then editor of Grainews, called me up and asked me if I could provide regular mechanical and machinery related content for each issue, I’d been doing freelance work for other magazines owned by the same publisher behind Grainews.
Since then, in the course of working the machinery beat, I’ve set foot in nine countries while covering what’s new in the ag machinery world. In the process I’ve come to meet and get to know—at least in a small way—many of the people behind the brands and equipment-related organizations. Over all that time, as you would expect, there have been several changes in personnel at many of those companies. Sometimes people move from brand to brand, while others come and go from the industry. In almost every case, I’ve been impressed by how passionate and talented those near the top of the many companies are.
This week in the most recent personnel change I’m aware of, Saskatchewan-based SeedMaster and its spin-off company DOT Technologies announced that they have brought two new faces to their senior management team: Jeffrey Bourassa as chief financial officer and Leah Olson as chief executive officer (CEO).
I don’t recall ever meeting Jeffrey, but I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Leah several times in her previous role as president of AMC, the Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada, an association that represents brands, like SeedMaster, and others who build ag equipment all across this country.
Given the current uncertainty in the industry due to global trade disruptions, Leah certainly faced pressure in her role recently at AMC. That was likely a pretty useful experience for her, because she will face more of the same as she heads up a Canadian implement manufacturer in this age of tariffs and uncertain trade policy. That bumpy road will be the one all manufacturing company CEOs from every sector will have to bounce over until things return to normal—or until we all find out what the new normal will be.
There have been more than a few political pundits expressing their views in publications all around the world on that very topic as of late. Will the U.S. eventually return to its post-war, pre-Trump role as the leader of western democracies, which is what it has been since 1945, many wonder aloud. Or will it continue on its current path reverting back to policies dominated by isolationist sentiment, which prevailed in that country prior to 1941? And how will the answer affect the future of global trade?
Whichever way things go, CEOs like Leah will certainly earn their pay in the next few years working to keep brands on the right path—whatever that path turns out to be. But there are a lot of competent people running these firms, and I’m sure they’re up for the job.
So Congratulations on your new position, Leah. And oh by the way, if you read this, I’m still waiting for my Riders cap!