Jumping In With Both Feet - RDO Integrated Control's Tom Potter

Founded in 1968 as an agricultural machinery dealer, RDO Equipment Co. has always sought to be a leader in the markets they serve. Since those early days, RDO Equipment Co. has expanded their product offering to include heavy equipment for the mining, construction and landfill industries. RDO Equipment Co. is a John Deere Agriculture and Construction Equipment dealer while also offering solutions from Vermeer Axis, Hitachi, Sakai, Topcon Positioning Systems and Carlson Software. Those last two companies’ products are actually offered by an RDO Equipment Co. division called RDO Integrated Controls (RDOIC). For more information about RDO Equipment Co., visit their website at http://www.rdoequipment.com/

RDOIC was founded in 2009 and is the positioning and machine control arm of RDO Equipment Co. The decision to start RDOIC was influenced by RDO Equipment Co.’s philosophy to fully support their customers’ needs by offering the best technology solutions available. When they saw the market trends and the ever-increasing adoption rates of machine control on their customers’ construction, mining and landfill jobsites; they knew they needed to get involved in a big way. RDO Equipment Co. believed it was better to take an aggressive approach with the goal of gaining expertise early-on rather than waiting and entering a more mature market later. Since hiring the first three employees in 2009 they have grown to over 53 employees in just three short years. According to Tom Potter, an RDOIC Account Manager specializing in the mining and landfill industries (and one of those first three), “RDO Equipment Co. saw where the market was going and wanted to become a leader in positioning and machine control.  They decided upon an aggressive and accelerated path, tapping the human and capital resources available to a large and successful company. They gathered that expertise via multiple new hires and through acquisitions.”

After graduating from Montana State University in 1999 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Tom Potter went to work in Silicon Valley for a high- tech. manufacturing-controlling devices company. After a job transfer to Denver, Tom felt it was time for a career change. He moved to Billings, Montana in 2005 to work as a salesman for WP Rentals, a Topcon Construction dealer who was already involved with machine control sales. Here he received a crash course in all things construction and machine control in particular (sort of like diving into the deep end of the pool). However, he was a fast learner and realized early success, viewing the transition as “another high-tech solution challenge.” He progressed to the position of territorial sales manager, before leaving to join RDOIC.

Upon joining RDOIC, Tom focused on construction, landfill, and mining customers from the RDO Equipment Co. Billings, MT office. As the Billings location was a John Deere construction and Topcon dealer store, Tom was already familiar with the equipment. However, it soon became apparent that the mining and landfill businesses would demand his attention full-time. So while others took over construction sales, his focus became more finely-tuned. This turned out to be a good decision as today he is responsible for mining and landfill sites in 22 Western states. In mining applications the software product of choice is Carlson software. Typically, Topcon’s hardware is bundled with Carlson software products, at other times turnkey Carlson systems is what customers request. RDOIC has become one of Carlson’s biggest dealers. Tom states: “Carlson is an industry leader and has a huge market share in the mining industry. Carlson’s belief in Open Positioning Architecture (OPA) is very well received, especially in the mining communities. This makes it easy for me to partner with a mine and offer a wide range of open solutions.” Given RDOIC’s various locations through the Rocky Mountain States, it is not surprising that mining has been very successful business area for them. In particular, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and the Dakotas have a high concentration of mines. In other Western States, such as Nevada and Arizona, there is a good amount of mining activity as well. Another, albeit smaller, segment of RDOIC’s business is machine control for landfill applications which Tom is responsible for.

For more on the landfill application you can see one of my past articles on that subject at  http://machinecontrolonline.com/paul-f-hahn/2602-the-bottom-line-3d-machine-control-in-the-landfill-industry. Tom says one of his challenges is the “constant learning as the technology evolves.” (Not much chance of that slowing down anytime soon.)

RDOIC receives good support from the RDO Equipment Co. infrastructure and philosophy. “We have well over 300 service technicians in the company, servicing all makes and models including John Deere, CAT, and Komatsu, so customers have come to expect excellent service and that expectation now extends to machine control,” says RDOIC General Manager, Adam Gilbertson. Adam also says “RDO Equipment Co. realized that they needed the right people with the right expertise to support the technology and become much more of a partner with customers -- not just a vendor. That includes service and support.” And that RDOIC has done. They have become one of the ten Topcon Regional Service Centers for all construction, surveying, and machine control products. You can hear more about RDOIC from Adam by visiting our Machine Control Online website and clicking on the video tab, or using the following link: http://machinecontrolonline.com/our-exclusive-videos/4640-machinecontrolonline-interview-adam-gilbertson-of-rdo-integrated-controls

I did think Adam’s view on why RDO Equipment Co. decided to get into the machine control market was insightful and worth mentioning here. Adam said, ”We entered the positioning business because we saw how important the technology was in the construction, mining, and landfill industries. We realized that having that solution for a customer, along with the machine, was absolutely critical as the technology has become more and more adopted in the industry.”

He went on to say, “RDOIC is an exciting place to be, positioned to meet emerging demands and bringing new technologies to the market.”

It’s clear that RDOIC is on the fast track to becoming a powerful force in the Western United States for positioning and machine control solutions. Their offices already stretch from Minnesota to Hawaii. It is also clear that they will invest in quality people like Tom Potter and Adam Gilbertson, as well as support resources to look after their customers long after the sale has been closed. What is amazing is how far they have come in such a short amount of time. Only they know how much farther their expansion plans will take them; both geographically and staffing-wise. They, most certainly, have jumped in with both feet.















Read Paul's articles
Read Paul's blog

[ Back ]


News Ticker