Some early memories for Jacob Groothuis revolve around his family’s dealership, Homestead Lawn and Tractor Co. in Cleveland, Tenn. His father, Neil, started it in 1991, and Jacob grew up “playing around the equipment. I learned to drive a stick shift on a tractor.” He also remembers doing odd jobs and pulling weeds to help out.
As he grew, those jobs become more important and spanned all the different areas of the dealership, from parts and service, to the shop where he’d work on some of the equipment, as well as assembling and checking the new merchandise. “I’ve learned so much from the people who work there,” he says. “They’ve taken me under their wing. You only learn through experience, and they have so much show me.”
As to what he loves about the dealership, Jacob says that the likes helping people. “When someone is frustrated that their piece of equipment is broken down, I like finding the parts and getting it fixed,” he says. “Plus, I just love working in the shop, getting dirty.”
While the dealership is what Jacob’s always known, he’s now in a different phase of his life. He’s studying at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, which is about two hours away from where he grew up. His schedule keeps him busy as he pursues a degree in mechanical engineering, while also participating in the Army’s ROTC program.
And he’s grateful for the scholarship he received from the Equipment Dealers Foundation (EDF) to help him achieve his education goals. “I appreciate the scholarship. I’ve spent a lot of my life around ag equipment, so to get a scholarship from an association that has a lot to do with my life is really cool,” he says.
As the Future Unfolds
At just 19, Jacob’s not sure what the future holds, but he does know that his hard work will pay off by affording him choices. He has the possibility of being a commissioned officer in the Army, he could look for work as an engineer or return to the dealership, which he loves as well.
The truth be told, his path just may hold some or all of those options. He points out that his two older brothers both went off to do their own thing and now, in their late 20s and early 30s, have returned to the family dealership to work alongside their father.
About the Scholarship
The EDF was established in 1988 to provide scholarship funding to help meet the industry’s needs for trained individuals. EDF also provides temporary assistance for dealerships and its employees affected by natural disasters. Learn more about EDF here.