Behind the Scenes at Valley® is a series showcasing the people behind the pivots.
In his 35 years with Valley Irrigation, Rudie Nemec has seen changes – lots of changes. When he started in irrigation, Valley had pivots and corner machines running on mechanical panels, and farmers had to drive to each machine and push the button to start the pivot. Now, much of Rudie’s job as lead product support specialist in the service department revolves around technology. Cell phones, for example, completely changed the way the service department operates.
“In 1979 I was working on a corner in Grant, NE, and it was kicking my butt,” Rudie says. “After three hours in the field I decided to call for help, so I drove five miles into town to find a pay phone. The response was ‘go back to the field and figure it out.’ That’s what I did, I drove back out to the field and figured it out because if I had a question I knew I would have to drive back to town and use a pay phone.”
Over Memorial Day weekend, technology took a back seat to old-fashioned values.
“There was a grower in South Dakota who was missing a part for his pivot and without this part he couldn’t irrigate over Memorial weekend,” Rudie explains. “UPS wasn’t operating over the holiday and the parts didn’t make it to the customer, so I drove back to Valley grabbed the parts and the next day drove what the grower needed back to his field so he could have the machine running for the weekend.”
Rudie and the other guys in the service department wear many different hats.
“In the winter we are teachers, doing training and seminars and in the summer we are coaches who provide support to our dealer networks,” Rudie says. “We are also laborers – working long hours in the field beside our dealers.
“I love the job, the people, the experiences, the challenges and I think every person in our department would say the same thing. We like to work with technicians on a challenge they may have.”
In his free time, Rudie mows the lawn and builds pallet tables (thanks Pinterest) for his daughter, who is studying event and hospitality planning in Lincoln. Rudie’s wife works in Fremont as a para-educator, and his son works in the information technology field.
Read previous Behind the Scenes profiles: