Hi, I’m Meli. One of my duties as hostess of the “Gathering” web site is to tell you about the scheduled activities and attractions of the next conference.
It is now my pleasure to begin to introduce our evening speakers for 2018.
Gathering of the Green Opening Reception Speaker – Wednesday, March 21
David DeVault, manager of Deere & Company’s Waterloo operations will welcome Gathering attendees to the heart of America, the Quad Cities and Davenport during the Opening Night Reception.
David DeVault began his career at General Electric in a variety of engineering and management roles in the Ordnance Systems Division, Military Electronics Systems Division, and Aircraft Engine Division. He joined John Deere in 2000 and has held roles as Global Director for Tillage and Seeding Product Line, general manager at John Deere Seeding, factory manager at John Deere Harvester Works, and since 2014, manager of Waterloo operations.
Mr. DeVault is a graduate of Northeastern University, Boston, with a degree in mechanical engineering and has advanced training in manufacturing from the University of Cincinnati. He also has Master Black Belt certification, a mark of career excellence and aimed at individuals who possess exceptional expertise and knowledge of current industry practice.
Mr. DeVault is one of a long line of John Deere officials who have welcomed Gathering of the Green attendees to Davenport, the Quad Cities and the home of Deere & Company over the past 18 years. Gathering planners thank Mr. DeVault for joining us on this the opening night of the 10th Gathering of the Green.
Gathering of the Green Featured Evening Speaker – Thursday, March 22
John Deere enthusiasts are traditionally interested in the boardroom interaction related to historic decisions made by the company over the years.
To that end, our Thursday evening speaker, Neil Dahlstrom, Manager of Corporate Archives & History at John Deere will share his most interesting research on: JOHN DEERE'S SECOND TRACTOR, THE ALL-WHEEL DRIVE.
John Deere spent six years developing its first tractor. The work resulted in two things: production of the All-Wheel Drive Tractor and the acquisition of the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company. Neil will explore the early 20th century tractor industry as seen from inside the Deere & Company board room. Based on new research, he will probe the history, facts and fictions of the John Deere All-Wheel Drive tractor and its place in John Deere history
Neil has been a certified archivist since 2007, is Chair of the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB), and member of the Kitchen Cabinet, a food and agricultural advisory board for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. He has Bachelor’s degrees in History and Classics from Monmouth College (Illinois), and a Master’s degree in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University. Neil has authored many articles and two books: The John Deere Story: A Biography of Plowmakers John and Charles Deere, and Lincoln’s Wrath: Fierce Mobs, Brilliant Scoundrels, and a President’s Mission to Destroy the Press.
Neil and his wife, Karen, reside in Moline and have one son, Grant, eight years of age.
Gathering of the Green Banquet Keynote Speaker – Saturday, March 24
The Gathering 2018 banquet keynote speaker, Graham Thompson, is a thirty-two-year member of the Deere & Company family who is presently the Director of Global Tractor Portfolio Development and Strategic Growth Planning. His presentation, WHAT GOT US HERE WILL GET US THERE, will focus on the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of John Deere tractors, key shifts in the agricultural industry as the world population increases and how John Deere’s core values will remain foundational to John Deere’s success over the next 100 years.
Graham Thompson, a native of the UK, holds an agricultural engineering HTC from the Wiltshire College of Agriculture. He has held a variety of interesting and important positions in the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. Graham began his career as a technician for a John Deere dealer in the UK in 1984. He joined John Deere in 1986 as Area Service Manager and through the ensuing years worked in marketing and customer support in Germany (13 years) and in Waterloo for 16 years, leading Deere’s global tractor planning. Graham’s background, experience and leadership in a variety of interesting and important positions in the US and globally, give him the knowledge and background to address the past, present and future of the world of tractors and agriculture.
Being a tractor enthusiast and collector too makes Graham an immediate member of the select group of John Deere tractor collectors, restorers and enthusiasts ... including Gathering attendees. Graham owns two Lanz Bull Dog’s and three John Deere two-cylinder tractors. What could be better!
Graham and wife, Andrea, are permanent residents of Waterloo. They have two sons, Joshua, 23, a senior at Iowa State and Tim, 17, a sophomore in high school.
Gathering planners are certain that conference attendees will enjoy a banquet evening with Graham Thompson.
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