Doug's Summer Internship at John Deere

For the summer between my first and second year at the Chicago GSB, I interned for John Deere's Construction and Forestry Division. Internships for the company occur in all the various Deere divisions. However, I happened to be with C & F in the Quad Cities. The Quad Cities straddle the Mississippi River between Illinois and Iowa. I guess officially the Quad Cities are comprised of Rock Island, Moline and East Moline in Illinois, as well as, Davenport in Iowa. Bettendorf, Iowa would probably also be considered since it has grown dramatically recently and there has been an (mercifully) unsuccessful attempt to call the area the "Quint Cities".

Deere was pretty amazing and they put me up in an appartment for the summer in Davenport. The complex was named Alexis at Perry Point, and my particular building was on left in the picture.

Here are the offices for the complex. Dana, the person that set me up withthe apartment, was fantastic. However, the pictures don't really show that the place was a construction site. My building was the first completed and another 8 or so were in various states of completion. Of particular interest was the swimming pool, which was promised early in the summer but only opened a few days before I left. And as you'll see later, this did me no good.

I worked in downtown Moline, IL in the Heritage Building. You can see the building in the left photo in the background. I worked on the sixth floor and the right photo shows my view. I got to look out over the Mississippi River and the I-74 bridge every day. The picture really doesn't do it justice because of the glare from the flash.

Across the street from my office was the John Deere Pavilion. Inside there are some displays and examples of the equipment Deere makes (both old and new). There is also a gift shop where all my friends requested gear from. I spent entirely too much money there. On the right is Erynn sporting a nice John Deere trucker hat.

Erynn actually stayed in Chicago while I was doing the internship, and I drove back home on the weekends. However, she did make it down twice (once planned and once not) to visit. On the planned trip we went to the Deere Pavilion. Of all the equipment Deere makes, here favorite is the cotton picker. Fortunately they had one on exhibit, and she got to climb all over it.

She was also surprised that she could fit inside the bucket of a backhoe and that medium sized tractor tire was taller than she was.

As many people know, John Deere, the man, invented the self-scouring steel plow in the early 1800's. The plow enabled the settlers to plow and tame the praries. Here is a picture of fellow intern Chris (from Tuck) in front of a row of early plows. There was a swap meet in the parking lot of my office building that we went to. The event lasted a couple days and there was a lot of cool equipment on show like the tractor with an early corn harvestor attached to the side.

During the summer, my in-laws had a family vacation that I was unable to attend due to my internship. One of the highlights of the trip for them was eating at the Machine Shed. It just so happens that the first Machine Shed was in Davenport. Might I reccomend the giant cinnamon rolls.

As part of the summer internship, I got to see many aspects of the company and my division in particular. Above are a couple photos of the Dubuque Iowa Works for the Construction and Forestry Division.

Another cool aspect of the summer was that I got to play around with lots of equipment. During the summer, the company introduced a new line of skid steers. The company created a multi-day training event for all the dealers, and I was able to attend and learn about the new features. The setup of the event was really cool because the organizers got their hands on a bunch of the competition and everyone was able to do direct comparisons over an obstacle course they set up. Very effective. The line up of the competition is shown in the right photo.

Of course, I got to have a go at driving the equipment. It was a blast!

Here are a couple views from inside the cab while I was driving.

Here I am on the obstacle course dumping a bucket load of dirt over a wall. The Deere skid steer, and I have to say most of the competition, did a fine job except the Bobcat. The Deere beats out most of the competition on specifications, but driving it and others was pretty straight forward. However, when I got into the Bobcat it was a nightmare. It is very difficult to control and bounces all over the place. When I duplicated the above picture with the Bobcat I got a load of dirt on my head. Apparently, we assume that an operator doesn't want to knock themselves out when dumping a bucket so we self level the bucket as the boom raises. Bobcat doesn't assume that so without warning you get dumped on unless you knew to correct for it before had. The sad thing is that the Bobcat has a huge market share. Quite depressing. Friends don't let friends drive Bobcats.

Deere has a demonstration site in Coal Valley, IL where customers can come out and drive any piece of C & F equipment they desire. One of the other interns organized a trip for us to go out and have a go. On the left, you can see Kanishka controlling an excavator. And on the right, Chris is driving a crawler dozer.

Here you can get an appreciation of how big some of the equipment is. On the left I'm standing in front of a Model 800C Excavator Bucket. On the right, I'm standing on top of Model 950C Crawler Dozer. We actually sell a model one size bigger. The 950C and 1050C crawler dozers were a focus of my summer project, and they are made for us in North America by Liebherr.

Here are just some random cool images of some Deere Equipment. As part of the demo, retirees are brought in to show off some of the key features of the equipment.

A cool tour that is generally open to the public if you call ahead is of the Harvester Works in East Moline. My parents actually took this tour too when they came out to visit after the Chicago Triathlon.

The night before my last day at Deere, much to my dismay, my appendix ruptured. When I woke up that morning I didn't feel well. My stomach hurt and I couldn't hold any food down. I was trying to wrap things up for my internship so I decided to go a meeting I set up in Dubuque. I finished the meeting after only throwing up once during then drove back to Davenport. I didn't make into the office, but instead fell asleep on the couch.

I woke up around 7pm still not feeling well. My wife (nurse) and friend Joe (doctor) in Chicago diagnosed me over the phone (they're so smart) and urged me to go to the hospital. My other friend Joe took me to the emergency room where they did some tests where they found my appendix needed to come out. Erynn drove down straight away (unplanned trip) to take care of me and relieve Joe who had been staying with me the whole night. The picture above was taken a couple days into my hospital stay. In total I stayed at the Genesis Hospital in Davenport for four days being pumped full of morphine and antibiotics. I'd like to thank Dr. Atwell and all of the nurses for taking great care of me.

Click here if you'd like to see the result of the surgery (after 2 weeks), but I must warn you that it's not for the squeamish. Also, you can click here to see my scar after it was all healed. Erynn and her sister, Amy, were having some fun since they were so happy I was finally feeling better.

I had a wonderful experience over the course of the summer. The outpouring of support from the folks at Deere while I was in the hospital was amazing. I would like to thank everyone I met over the course of the summer and helped me with my project. In particular, I'd like to thank Tony, Michele, Tim, Brian, Jim, Cliff, John, James, Ann, and Gene. As a result, I've decided to accept my offer and work for Deere & Co. full time after I graduate in June 2005. I look forward to seeing you all then.

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