John Deere aims to deepen connections with women in construction
John Deere believes that a dynamic and diverse workforce represents the key to helping our world leap forward. The company is proud to see the growing influence women are having on the construction industry today. John Deere celebrates and supports the unique perspectives, talents, and strengths they bring to the table.
Female representation in the construction industry
Tara Duggan is President of McDermott Excavator in Dubuque, Iowa, and is part of the 11 per cent of female representation in the construction industry. She takes pride in the 65 per cent growth of women-owned construction firms and the power that voice has in the market. She’s also not a fan of distinctions.
“We don’t buy a loader as a woman,” Tara said. “We buy a loader as a business owner.”
That sentiment is exactly why John Deere held its first Women in Construction Customer Advocacy Group event in late May 2022. With a goal of deepening connections and relationships with women in the industry, the company and the division knew it needed to take deliberate steps to bring a growing voice and perspective into conversations around solutions, products, and results.
In short, John Deere was looking for insights, and it got them.
Representing leadership roles in their respective industries and communities
"The expertise of the construction professionals in attendance at the Women in Construction event was simply incredible! The participants represent leadership roles in their respective industries and communities, achieved through innovating and overcoming challenges each and every day. It was inspiring for the John Deere team to discuss the opportunities in the construction industry with this extraordinary group,” said Jason Daly, Global Director for Production Systems, Precision Construction, and Marketing.
The three-day event featured eight women leaders from around the United States and focused on topics related to building safer, smarter, and more sustainable construction solutions. Attendees were given a tour of Davenport Works and were able to participate in a ride-and-drive event at Deere’s test site in Coal Valley, Illinois.
The customers represented women ranging from third generation business owners to those who built their business from the ground up. One shared a story of securing her first job before she had any equipment, employees, or overhead – just a business name.
That customer, Guiomar Obregon (CEO and co-founder of P2K Civil Construction Contractors), is now running one of the leading construction firms in Atlanta, working on civil infrastructure. Guiomar also was named one of the 50 most influential Latinos in Georgia and is one of the founding members of the Georgia Hispanic Construction Association.
John Deere looks ahead to solve problems for the future
“It’s great to see the focus on women in construction and to share that with women in your own company,” Guiomar said. “I like to see how John Deere is looking ahead to solve problems for the future. Labor shortages are everyone’s problem, but what are we doing to fix it? What can I do to train someone, give the opportunity to someone who didn’t think of this as a career before?”
What stood out to the featured guests was John Deere's commitment and culture.
“It’s clear John Deere's is customer-driven as they tie each part back to the problem and how to fix it to make it safer for us and for your own people,” said Melissa Poland-Knapick, vice president of operations, Ray Poland and Sons in Kennewick, Washington.
Beth Scanlon, President of Scanlon Excavation in Chicago agreed. “It was great to see the culture here. The people behind the products we buy and the pride they take in their work,” she said. “There were ideas that were shared that are forward-thinking and sparked in me some interest and thinking about what I could do in my own operation.”
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