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LEADERSHIP STYLE TO WITHSTAND THE TEST OF TIME
Leadership and style are two words synonymous with Bud Porter's way of conducting business at John Deere. During the last 35 years, those two qualities have had a dramatic impact on the way John Deere operates. Although recently retired from the position of senior vice president of North American Agricultural Marketing, Bud's leadership initiatives and personal style can still be readily seen throughout the organization.

Terry Mosier, manager, North American Agricultural Training at John Deere, has known and worked with Bud for more than 15 years. "In terms of Bud's leadership style, one thing that really jumps out is that he is such an excellent listener. He is always interested in everyone's point of view on any given topic or issue. He'll seek out people's opinions and use that input to help him make a better, more informed decision."

Bill Sand, vice president, North American Agricultural Support Services, at Deere & Company headquarters in Moline, Ill., also has a long history with Bud. "I've known Bud since the mid-70s, and when I think about Bud's leadership style, the first thing I think about is the value he puts on relationships. Bud excels at building relationships, whether it's with his own employees, other companies, or outside organizations. I have always admired his interaction with other people. He makes people feel good and looks for the bright side in everyone. His most distinguishing characteristic is that he doesn't prejudge. He gives everyone the benefit of the doubt."

Leadership initiatives closely associated with Bud include active involvement with the company's dealer network and the formation of the North American Agricultural Marketing Center (NAAMC) in Lenexa, Kan. "Bud is a very strong advocate of our equipment dealers across the country. He is committed to blending the interests of John Deere with those of our dealer organization. Put simply, Bud feels that our network of dealers is one of the company's greatest assets," says Mosier.

Doug Headley, manager, North American Agricultural Advertising and Marketing Communications at John Deere in Lenexa, says, "One of the things Bud is well-known for is his drive to reorganize our agricultural marketing efforts and relocate to Lenexa. The reorganization was a very strategic move in that it positioned us closer to the sales organization and is helping us be more effective with customers."

John Deere vice president, North American Agricultural Marketing Charlie Gause agrees that Bud's engaging leadership style makes him a real ýman of the peopleţ with co-workers, dealers, customers, and industry partners as well. "Bud's leadership style is collegial. It always feels more like a partnership. He is a good partner to work with because he values people's opinions and listens to others before making decisions."

Longtime friend, co-worker, and fellow retiree Johnny Dickinson, division manager, marketing at Waterloo Works, recalls a few details about Bud's people skills. "The John Deere people in the field love Bud Porter! He's one of the guys. He's come up in the company through the ranks, and he relates very well to all of us in the field. He is a superb negotiator.

"For instance, if a decision were made at headquarters to lower or reduce our inventory, the field sales force might be upset and concerned that reducing inventory would cost the company sales. Bud would get involved, and, in the end, everyone would accept the change and understand why it needed to be implemented. Bud never made anyone 'choke' on a new edict. Instead, he would talk to you and make you understand why something did or did not need to be done."

ADVOCATE FOR EDUCATION

Solid leaders typically develop mentoring roles for themselves where they help educate and encourage future leaders. Bud was no different. Everyone agrees that educational organizations are near and dear to Bud's heart. Bud has been active in organizations such as the Farm Foundation, Future Farmers of America (FFA), and the Equipment Manufacturers Institute for a long time. When asked why Bud always makes room in his schedule for them, Sand replies, "That's his personality. He genuinely enjoys the personal relationships, plus he recognizes that these organizations are valuable. I think he'll stay involved with organizations like these."

"Bud has always been a very strong advocate for the FFA. I don't think he hardly ever missed an FFA convention. He is also a staunch supporter of Ohio State - a big Buckeye fan," adds Mosier. In addition, the University recognized Bud as distinguished alumni during 1999.

Bud believes in educational partnerships rather than simply giving cash donations. He was instrumental in accomplishing major fund-raising and recognition efforts for FFA. For example, the John Deere number 97 Winston Cup car recently raced in Charlotte, N.C., on May 28 with the FFA logo prominently displayed on its hood. FFA will continue to use the special edition car for fund-raisers. AM


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