A third-generation implement dealer owner says all names aside, new additions to the company’s ownership group still keep the family-owned feeling.
Beard Implement Company owners Gerry Beard and Kyle Schumacher announced the addition of two principals to the ownership group of the long time farm implement company.
In the succession plan announcement made Monday evening the company says Nate McGraw and Suzanne Hobrock will assume new roles as owners in early April.
Gerry Beard says it was time to lay the groundwork for the company’s future as he begins preparations for his retirement.
“I’m 64 and just wanting to prepare for the future. We had other plans at one time but things changed. So I wanted to get something lined out to keep the company going. At this time there were no Beards interested. Kyle is like a son to me and Suzanne is like a daughter to me, I’ve known her for her whole life too.
She’s been with us for ten years and we thought she brought some different skill sets to the group. And then we started visiting with Nate and his wife back in February or March of last year to propose this to him. It’s taken a little bit of time but things all came together. To me, it’s like family and they are family and we’ll keep things rolling.”
Nate McGraw has a farm implement background having most recently worked for Case IH. While Suzanne Hobrock has been an employee of Beard Implement for nine years serving as Controller.
Beard says the four will maintain ownership of the business. He says he has a three to four year plan for the rest of the ownership group to buy out his shares as they become more comfortable with the day to day ownership responsibilities. Beard will then either stay on in sales or possibly retire fully.
Beard says though that he’s not going anywhere for a while, and he’s looking forward to what everyone brings to the group.
“I’m looking forward to having four owners too. I’m going to be very active, I’m not changing anything I’m doing other than getting Nate up to speed on the business side of things. Suzanne’s been our Controller and she’ll basically just be our C.F.O. Now, so she will bring that to the table as well. It’s good to see how each one of them is going to contribute. See how they are all going to get together and do the right things, but each one of them is going to have their definite specialties.”
Beard says he is excited for the future of the company, as both Hobrock and McGraw have the same goals, values, and outlook that he and Schumacher share.
“We feel like our advantage is our people and that’s one of our strengths. We’re a corporation but we are still family-owned. With all the consolidations and buyouts in both farming and Ag dealerships, we are getting a lot of comments from farmers and our employees that they are delighted to have the smaller feel but yet know that they are with a corporation. And that gives our customers and my employees a reason to hang around and to succeed because we are going to be here.”
Beard Implement Co. began as a one-man operation in 1937 by Gerry’s Grandfather, Robert Beard in Arenzville, Ill. Over 80 years later, the business has grown to four stores located in Arenzville, Ashland, and Pittsfield, Ill., as well as Hannibal, Mo., and employs over 65 people.
Beard says he is confident his Grandfather, and subsequent owners would be proud of the new additions to the team as they position Beard Implement for the future.