Part of the furniture


Part of the furniture

AFTER almost 50 years at the local John Deere dealership, Ron Davison is still very much part of the day to day running of the Leongatha South based business.

In the time Ron has been at the business it has morphed from Meeniyan Tractor Service, then Windmill Ag and finally Cervus Equipment, based on the highway at Leongatha South.

Little did Ron know then that after answering an advert in The Star titled “Lad required for workshop” which was published on February 10, 1970, that he would still be involved in the same business more than 48 years later.

“I went in for the job interview with Noel and Warren Rich on the Wednesday (February 12, 1970) and they said, ‘When do you want to start?’” Mr Davison recalls.

“So we decided Friday was the starting date. Sporting a long mullet, the Rich brothers said all I needed to do was get a haircut. I never got that haircut but I started the job and have there ever since.

“My mates used to say to me at the time, ‘What is a John Deere?’ which is quite funny when you realise how much of an icon that tractor is today.”

Ron has seen a lot of changes over the years, from the days when he serviced all the highly mechanical tractors until today where he has an intimate knowledge of the technological advances in tractors.

He remembers well the mid-1970s when things got really tough.

“One of the bosses, Noel Rich, said to me, ‘Ron, times are tough and we have to make some changes’. To my surprise Noel wasn’t about to lay me off. Instead he said to me he was going to get a job in Melbourne and would like me to run the whole shop. So that’s what I did until things started to improve again in the late 1970s and then we rebuilt the shop in Meeniyan. It had another extension some years later.”

He is now involved in Integrated Solutions technical support, looking after the John Deere tractors’ auto track self-steer, and provides internal support for the workshop and sales team, and on-farm technical support for the customers.

“I spent a lot of my years on the service call-out roster getting under tractors at all hours but I don’t do that anymore,” he said.

Almost every decade of his service has been celebrated.

The 10 years was celebrated with a party at Warren Rich’s house and the 20 year anniversary saw an even bigger event at the MDU footy rooms which was talked about for years later.

The 30 year mark saw a celebration in Melbourne at a company event where Ron received a 30 year plaque and was surprised with a Footscray Bulldogs Football jumper.

“Somehow the 40 year anniversary came and went, but if I’m here for the 50th in two years’ time I imagine that there’ll be something happening,” he said.

Ron said at this stage he felt his time “wasn’t quite up” yet, a sentiment supported by branch manager Joe Messina.

“Ron is very much valued by all of us here and the knowledge he has gained over 48 years obviously can’t be replicated easily. If Ron was a computer I would plug a USB in and extract the knowledge gained so we could retain this for the future,” Joe said.

The new complex at Leongatha South was officially opened in September 2011.

Then dealer principal at Windmill Ag, Jason Henry, decided Ron was so important to the company he named the boardroom the “Ron Davison” boardroom.

“As long as I feel I am still of value to the company I will stay. When the time comes I think I’ll know,” Ron said.

Ron says the secret to staying in one spot for this long is simple – he just loves what he does. When the 50 years of service comes along in 2020 you can expect one big party!


Great line-up: replicating one of the staff line-up shots from the 1980s are some of the current Cervus Equipment team, from left, branch manager Joe Messina, ‘all-rounder’ Ron Davison, spare parts manager Tony LePage and service manager Michael Watson pictured in front two of the state of the art John Deere tractors.

Never forgotten: Ron Davison has already left his mark on the John Deere dealership over the years and even has the boardroom named after him.

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Posted by on Oct 30 2018. Filed under Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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