4 Rivers Equipment GM reflects on industry trends

John Shearer, 4 Rivers Equipment's general manager for construction and forestry, recently recalled in an interview with Equipment Reporter how he received his start as a technician in Pennsylvania at a John Deere Dealership in the early '80s.

From there, Shearer observed and learned how the dealership ran, working closely with the chief financial officer. He later was offered a position with a John Deere Dealership in Virginia where he became vice president of product support in the agriculture and construction and forestry divisions.

“We grew the product support business to over $140 million in sales by 2013,” Shearer said. He was then asked to be general manager of the construction and forestry division of 4 Rivers Equipment when the group expanded into New Mexico and Texas.

Shearer has seen some notable changes within the industry.

"New equipment sales was the only profit center in the dealership. All other department existed to support the efforts of the sales department," he said. "The other major change has been the shift to more services offered by the dealerships. We now offer a multitude of financial option to the customer to include leasing, rentals, Power by the Hour, as well as the traditional installment loan.”

Shearer said it is an exciting time to work in a dealership as technology grows and changes. He also noted, however, that obstacles have emerged in the equipment industry, the biggest being an inability to attract good people and to sell this as a career to younger people.

“Right now the biggest things holding our industry back are the uncertainty in our government," he said. "We need some long-term planning by our elected officials. Bonus depreciation is a good plan if you know its there. No one can do any purchase and tax planning when they only reinstate the program in the last two weeks of the year. This needs have a long-term solution.

"Our infrastructure is crumbling and we need to find the funding for improvement as soon as possible. Businesses across the country are being affected by poor roads and bridges needed to transport goods efficiently to the end user. We also need an energy policy that bridges the gap between what we have now and a cleaner, more independent energy supply.”

4 Rivers Equipment has been a member of AED since 1991.

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4 Rivers Equipment, LLC

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