Monday, May 25, 2015

Road Trip

So last week it was time for the AgroLiquid Senior Managers to embark on their spring summit meeting.  This year we went to Moline, IL for some internal meeting and discussion.  But we also paid a visit to John Deere World Headquarters for a look around and exchange with another industry leader.  Now I am aware that few things are more divisive in agriculture than tractor color.  But all of you red riders please read will enjoy learning a little about the green side.
I had never been here before.  This building was built in 1964 at a time when John Deere was becoming a world leader in implements for farm, construction and yards.   It was suggested that they should move their headquarters to New York or San Francisco or some other large city closer to the world.  But management felt it was more important to stay where they started, and be closer to their farm heritage and workforce.  So they did.  I will say that the building is unlike any that I have ever seen.
 It is constructed, both inside and out of Cor-Ten steel.  It is left bare and unpainted and forms a stable rust-like appearance.  In fact, over time an outer layer forms that protects it from further corrosion, and will last a very long time.  It is now 51 years old.  It blends in well with all of the trees. I still can't decide if I like it or not...but I can't look away.
Fascinating place.  Here is a view from the back.  Incidentally, for all of you crossword puzzle enthusiasts, the building was designed by architect Eero Saarinen.
Here is a look out back to the lake and the island with a Henry Moore bronze sculpture on it that had to be lowered in place by helicopter.  The public is allowed access to the beautiful grounds.  How neighborly.
Here is a view of the atrium area on the inside.  It has the same Cor-ten steel here too. We actually ate lunch there.  Cool.
We received a nice tour of the buildings.  Here is a connecting hallway that we are walking through where you can see the beautiful grounds.
There is quite a collection of art in the halls.  Here is an appropriate painting.  It was painted in 1885 by Uridge Whiffen if you want to make an offer.  Incidentally, we learned that the deer was incorporated into the company logo in 1876 after other manufacturers patterned their logos with similar typeset and a diamond to look like the John Deere logo of the time.
We did have a chance to meet with some company personnel to discuss, among other things, how Deere and company incorporates their company philosophy with employee training and developing pride.  We met in their auditorium where once upon a time they would bring in their new farm equipment to show at various meetings accompanied by much fanfare.  You can see how the stage rotates.  Well those days are over as much of today's equipment is too large to fit. It is still used for stockholder and other meetings, but also for municipal events like plays and concerts.
Well as you can see from the smiles on us manager types, the visit to JD HQ was both informative and entertaining.
But that's not all.  Oh no.  Read on for more.