Jefferey Fawcett Material Control Manager, Oliver Manufacturing

A seed equipment “veteran” in every sense of the word, Jefferey Fawcett has served customers for more than 37 years through his work at Oliver Manufacturing in La Junta, Colo. He started as a temporary contractor fresh out of college and worked his way up to material control manager taking on more and more responsibility through the years. Needless to say, Jefferey is preparing for retirement and trying to make sure all his knowledge is not lost.

I recently announced my retirement from Oliver Manufacturing, set to take effect this December, and I thought this was an opportunity to reflect on my career. As material control manager for 37 years, my duties included all the purchasing and management of inventory adjustments as needed. I’ve been responsible for inventory adjustments during our annual physical count and logistics for scheduling shipments, whether it’s parts or machines, going domestically and internationally.

In 1981, I started at Oliver as a temporary contractor. I was fresh out of college and ready to start a career. At the time, Geoff Burney was the CEO and he didn’t actually have any fulltime positions available. However, he needed work done on creating part numbers, something that I still manage to this day. The parts system in place needed to be refined. Around the end of October, a permanent position opened up and Geoff offered it to me. I’ve been here ever since!

Effective communication in my role as material control manager is vital. It’s important to have a good rapport with other departments as we rely on a lot of back-and-forth information from each other. I have to understand that we use an awful lot of those items, so we don’t want to buy just five or 10 at a time, we need to buy 100 at a time. Or, we don’t go through that many, and we only need five or 10 or if we are trying something new.

Thirty or 40 years ago, the expertise and knowledge I’d developed on thousands and thousands of parts would be painstaking to record and communicate. I’d end up writing a book or manual about it all! But because of natural technological developments, a lot of that knowledge is ready to be passed along with the mantel.

I’ve witnessed a great deal of change and a tremendous amount of growth. In 1981, I never dreamed that I’d be here in 2018. I sure am lucky to have been here for as long as I have, and I’ve had many meaningful relationships with different people at Oliver through the years. It’s been very rewarding. It’s been a pleasure to raise my family in the Rocky Ford and Arkansas Valley area. I’m finishing up in December – hopefully, I’ll be on vacation by the actual deadline. It’s been a wonderful journey!