Q&A Tech Talk - Retirement

posted on Tuesday, December 26, 2023 in Blog

Q&A Tech Talk - RetirementLong-time John Deere Salesman and safety manager Keith Urbaniak are celebrating his retirement on January 4th, 2024, at True North Equipment Kennedy, Minnesota, 3 to 5. Join us in celebrating his retirement. Before he signs off and likely heads for somewhere with warm tropical weather, we asked him a few questions about his time with John Deere and what he plans to do after retirement. 
1. How long have you been with John Deere? Can you give us a rundown of your career highlights?

Keith: I grew up with John Deere, my family bought the John Deere Dealership in 1949 – worked in set up the summers of my high school and college years – started full time in the summer of 1981. For our family, the building of the present building and moving in the winter of 1969 – then the addition in 1976 was really important to our business.
I taught in Hallock (79-80) and in the EGF public school system (80-81) – then came back to work in the dealership in June of 1981. Was in sales up to 2017 when the Safety position opened up. In 2024, our family has had ties with John Deere for 75 years.

2. What was it like transitioning from Urbaniak Implement to now True North Equipment?

Keith: It’s always about your co-workers – with the added stores, we’ve got to meet so many different personalities. All the different store cultures, which differed in the locations, and of course, all the new customers which we have come in contact with over the last 21 to 42 years.

3. Thinking back to the beginning, what are you most proud of in your career and accomplishments?

Keith: The personal and professional contacts/friendships that I’ve been fortunate to establish – the loyalty of co-workers working alongside them, trying to make things work for everyone.

4. What advice would you give to the incoming safety manager Don as he steps into the role?

Keith: Don is a very experienced safety professional – just as in coaching/teaching “just be you”

5. What are your plans for retirement?

Keith: I hope to help out subbing at the schools, maybe help out with football while being able to attend our grandson’s sporting events locally, spending more time with grandchildren in the cities – help out wherever I can.

6. What is the best advice you’ve received during your time working in a John Deere dealership?

Keith: Do what is right – you’ll never be wrong.

7. What are you going to miss about working in the ag industry/True North Equipment?

Keith: Of course, the people, the co-workers, the daily bantering of the crew.

8: What else would you like to share regarding your retirement from True North Equipment?

Keith: I’d like to thank all the employees and management of True North for being supportive over the years – we have a great group of people who work hard to take care of our customers’ needs. Especially want to thank Dan, John, Lloyd, and Rachel for their support over the years.

9. Any final “safety thoughts” for the entire team at True North Equipment?

Keith: If what you're doing doesn’t look quite right, take a deep breath and rethink what is going on

True North Equipment Safety Manager