Growing up “dead center” between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wy., Aaron Balcom has been riding horses and rounding up cattle since he was 4. He loved his tight-knit ranching community and sense of belonging, so when it came time choose a career, he knew he wanted to stay in agriculture.
While he enjoyed working as a ranch hand, he knew it was not a long-term proposition for him. He says that growing up where he did gave him an appreciation and respect for dependable equipment; that and “mechanical curiosity” pushed him toward his next career step as an ag tech.
At the beginning of this year, he moved to the Sidney, Neb. area and interviewed at and toured various dealerships. He found that 21st Century Equipment was the best fit for him. He spent two and a half months working alongside the technicians at the dealership to see if the job was right for him. It didn’t take long to see that it was. “This is first job I’ve ever had that I never once wished it was Sunday,” he says.
Loving What He Does
Aaron found that he not only loved what he was doing, he also loved where he was doing it: “The mechanics and my manager at 21st Century are incredibly intelligent people—their base of knowledge is mind-blowing. Plus, it’s a light-hearted, good environment.”
This past July, he started the John Deere Ag Tech Program at Southeast Community College in in Milford, Neb., and will graduate with an Associates of Applied Science in June 2020. With this program, he goes back to the dealership to work a three-month internship every six month. And while his training program is still new, Aaron says he loves “working on the big stuff with a lot of moving parts, like combines.”
The scholarship he received from the Equipment Dealers Foundation will help him achieve his long-term career goals. “I want to thank Equipment Dealers Foundation and 21st Century for their willingness to support my education,” says Aaron. “Growing up in a ranching family, I didn’t have the means to do it, so I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity and their faith in me.”
Aaron sees what he’s doing as an all-around good career fit not only for himself but for others as well: “If you have a mechanical aptitude and desire to learn, this company provides the opportunity and pushes you to be the mechanic you want to be. It’s definitely a unique career, with long hours, but I can’t imagine a better place for anyone.” And his career choice goes even deeper than that for him. “I was raised in a family with old-fashioned morals and a work ethic, and it’s nice to be around people with the same values,” he says.
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.