I know what you’re thinking. I, Jeff Bower, am OEM’s first parts man. I’ve been a Deere parts man since 1981 and that experience helped form the basis of our company. My grandfather once told me to never open a cafe’ unless you know how to cook. I took his advice and it has served me well. In a pinch, I can still sell parts effectively. I spent many years trying to train various people to replace me as the lead parts man at OEM. I tried secretaries, mechanics, even a parts counter man from a Deere dealership, with limited success. I always wound up back in the kitchen. Then 3 years ago, Jose Juan (JJ) Lopez came to work for us. He grew up a Hispanic in Idaho, a mainly white culture. I grew up a gringo in Corpus Christi TX, a mainly Hispanic culture. Almost immediately, we realized that we understood both cultures from our unique perspectives. And we came to respect one another right away. We also share very similar paths. He started at a JI Case dealership in shipping and receiving, 18 years ago. He became the back parts counter man, where the mechanics came to rely on him. He was promoted to front parts counter, then spent many years as a parts manager. He eventually took a job at an independent equipment dealer as parts manager. My path is almost identical. JJ is truly a professional parts man. He transitioned from JI Case to John Deere almost immediately, one sign of a true professional. His genuine smile and calm confident demeanor is obvious to anyone who deals with him. He is always kind and courteous to every single customer and employee. Always! Since his arrival, our sales have increased by leaps and bounds. He is a very driven hard working man and he works diligently to fulfill every single parts request, large or small. Like me, he truly enjoys helping people get their equipment up and running. For the first time in our 22 years in business, I can be absent from the company and it has no effect on sales. When JJ started here, I told him that he could have the Parts Manager job but he was gonna’ have to rip it from my hands. He has done that and is now in charge of our parts department. You’ll never find a happier, more competent, respectful person than JJ Lopez. Give him a shout and you’ll see what I mean.