Even at the age of seven, Russ Linder was fascinated by farm equipment. As he grew older, it became his passion and career goal.
A brochure Russ’s parents brought home from the World Dairy Expo led him to Southwest Wisconsin Technical College.
“A counselor named Tom gave us a tour and he knew every students’ name and where they were from,” Russ recalled. “The facilities were impressive and I liked the small class sizes and hands-on learning.”
After the first month, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in Agriculture Power & Equipment. After the first year, an internship at the John Deere dealership in Stevens Point led to a job offer.
“The dealer said they would pay my tuition if I would come to work for them for two years,” Russ said. They kept their promise and so did he.
During the first few years, Russ worked in the shop performing repairs and maintenance. After five years, he got married and moved to Columbus where he became a field technician for Mid-State Equipment, another John Deere dealership. Russ covers a territory from Antigo to Janesville and from Spring Green to Lake Michigan making service calls to customers’ farms.
“I enjoy the customer contact,” he said. “When a customer has an equipment problem I’m going to figure it out or find someone who can.”
When he meets young people on the farms he visits, Russ encourages them to consider the Agriculture Power & Equipment Technician program.
“If you are able to fix and maintain your own equipment, you can save money,” he tells them.