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Waikato farm machinery dealership claims a hat trick

Published on 02 August 2017

Waikato farm machinery dealership claims a hat trick

CLAAS Harvest Centre, Waikato, has cemented its reputation as one of the best farm machinery dealerships in New Zealand, claiming three of the top honours in the 2nd Strive Annual Excellence Awards presented in Melbourne recently.

The awards recognise the best performing dealerships, teams and individuals across Landpower and CLAAS Harvest Centre, the largest privately-owned farm machinery distribution network in Australasia.

The network represents some of the world’s leading farm machinery brands, including CLAAS, AMAZONE, JCB and Trioliet, via 31 owned and franchised CLAAS Harvest Centres throughout New Zealand and Australia.

Waikato won the prestigious Strive Dealership of the Year and the inaugural Employee Engagement Excellence awards, with staff member, Scott Anderson, winning a coveted ‘Herby Award’ as Apprentice of the Year.

The Hamilton-based business was recognised for its excellence across a number of key operating and financial criteria, including workshop, parts, staff engagement, customer satisfaction, health and safety and utilisation of IT systems.

“Waikato has shown tremendous achievement in achieving and exceeding the exacting standards demanded of CLAAS Harvest Centre,” Landpower CEO, Richard Wilson, says. “Craig Norton and his team have shown they are completely committed to these values. Craig engages his staff and his customers because he understands the value of these relationships. He is a forward-thinker and a problem-solver who lives and breathes the values of this business.”

Craig Norton, has worked for Landpower and the CLAAS Harvest Centre network in a variety of service, parts, sales and management roles for almost 30 years. As Branch Manager, he has worked hard to create a workplace that externally, is customer-focussed, and internally, is efficient, safe and enjoyable. “These awards mean a lot to me but it’s more about the team I have the privilege to work with,” Craig says. “My team has put in a huge effort over the past 12 months and they deserve this recognition. They have really pushed themselves to the max.”

Craig’s team includes Sales Representatives, Nick Ravlich, Robbie Barrowcliffe, Chris Tricker and Bryan Anderson, and Administration Manager, Sonja Williams.

Service Manager, Glenn Downey, leads a team of 15, comprising Workshop Foreman, Alan Wilde; Service Technicians, Niels Kleven, Antony Dyer, Kieren Gray, Patrick Dettling, Kevin Noelke, Bruce Thomas; Apprentice Mechanics, Scott Anderson, Marc Laurich, Ashton Norton, Patrick Jury and Taylor Peach; Yardman, Jason Hutchings, and Service Administrator, Andrea Hill.

Parts Manager, Brent Adler, supervises Parts Interpreter, Robert Jennett, and Parts Apprentice, Ryan Lewis.

Landpower CEO, Richard Wilson, commended all of the finalists in this year’s awards. “To be recognised in this category is an acknowledgement of a lot of hard work, alignment to the Landpower business model and the pride that our staff have in their businesses,” he says. “It is particularly pleasing to see how much everyone has got behind the philosophy of these awards as we strive to improve our performance across all aspects of our business. “Some of our dealerships have made huge gains over the past year and are not that far away to being featured on the podium in future years.”

More than 120 guests from New Zealand, Australia, Germany and the UK attended the Strive Annual Excellence Awards gala dinner and presentation ceremony held at Cargo Hall on South Wharf. VIP guests included CLAAS Supervisory Board chair, Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser, and her husband, Dr Felix Mühlhäuser; CLAAS UK CEO and Regional Director, Trevor Tyrrell; CLAAS Global Sales Export Manager, Elke Hoyermann; and Landpower founder and owner, Herby Whyte.

Apprentice of the Year

Third-year apprentice, Scott Anderson, has been recognised as the Apprentice of the Year across the CLAAS Harvest Centre network in New Zealand and Australia. 

Landpower founder and owner, Herby Whyte, personally selected Scott from a stellar field of 14 nominations. “The importance of attracting, training and retaining apprentices is paramount to the future success of our business,” Herby says. “We are extremely proud to employ more than 60 apprentices across the CLAAS Harvest Centre network and Scott exudes the understanding, enthusiasm and thirst for learning that we’re looking for in our young staff. He was recommended by his colleagues and teachers for his diligence, hard-working nature, ability to troubleshoot and find solutions to complicated technical problems, even at this early stage in his career.”

Scott hails from Matamata, where his parents milk about 1000 cows across four owned and leased properties. “I love farming and can milk cows, but I am more into machinery,” he says. “I had always wanted to do the ‘big harvest’ so I headed to Western Australia and got a job with a big wheat grower and agricultural contractor.”

Soon enough, he was in the driver’s seat of a CLAAS LEXION 750 combine harvester fitted with a 12 metre VARIO variable cutterbar front, direct heading a 13,000 ha crop of genetically-modified canola, the largest yet grown in Australia.

After five years in the west, Scott headed home and applied for a position as an apprentice mechanic with CLAAS Harvest Centre, Waikato. "It was tough at first – I was 22 years old and I went from earning pretty good money to being an apprentice but it’s what I wanted to do,” he says.

Scott has powered through his studies at the Waikato Institute of Technology and MITO New Zealand and expects to graduate within the month. “One day, I might go into sales but right now, I am really looking forward to starting work as a Service Technician specialising CLAAS JAGUAR forage harvesters,” he says.


  •          Landpower CEO Richard Wilson (left), and Founder/Owner, Herby Whyte (right) congratulate CLAAS Harvest Centre, Waikato Branch Manager, Craig Norton.
  •          Landpower CEO Richard Wilson, congratulates CLAAS Harvest Centre, Waikato Branch Manager, Craig Norton.
  •          Waikato winners . . . Apprentice of the Year, Scott Anderson, with Branch Manager, Craig Norton.

CLAAS Harvest Centre

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