As we enjoy the holiday season, it’s a good time to reflect, personally and professionally on the year. While the most challenging moments may first come to mind, we’re grateful to recall the satisfying achievements. No matter the outcome, both provided an opportunity to grow and a greater sense of purpose.
Our allegiance to our core values and partnerships is how we have achieved success. This happened because of our dedication to creating quality equipment for even the toughest jobs for our customers all over the world. Thank you for your continued partnership.
We hope you take the time to enjoy the holidays and recharge for what is sure to be an outstanding 2023. Please note that Akkerman will be closed December 24th and reopen December 27th.
Aubree Weber is the winner of the 10th Annual Akkerman Christmas Card Contest. Aubree is the daughter of Scott Weber and is in the 7th grade at Owatonna Middle School. Aubree’s artwork will be featured on our 2022 Christmas card, and she will receive a $50 gift card as the first-place winner.
There were 12 fantastic entries this year, and it was tough to choose just one winner. We appreciate everyone’s participation.
After twenty-five years at a company, the amount of time spend can comfortably be called a career. For exceptional employees, contributions to a company’s success in a career spanning 25 years is beyond measure. And for purchasing manager Rhonda Akkerman, those contributions place her in a class above most.
Rhonda was hired on 12/29/1997 and is the epitome of a valued human investment at Akkerman.
Rhonda’s first professional role was at Mel Saxton Austin Ford Lincoln Mercury, where she was a full-time office administrator for ten years. She was a cashier, receptionist, and warranty clerk, performed accounts payable and receivable, processed payroll, wrote checks, and received parts. She was an ambitious single moter of two boys who also found time to earn her associate degree in accounting at Austin Community College (now Riverland Community College).
In 1997, her affinity with Akkerman was tied to her family. She was familiar with the company through her father, Dick Pedersen, who did electrical work for the business, her cousin, Chad Pedersen, who at the time worked for her father’s business, and Jay Howton, her brother-in-law.
An opening was available in purchasing, created by Hillary Luinstra, daughter of Doug, plant manager, who was leaving for college. Doug, Mike, Brooks, and Randy Gasner interviewed Rhonda and agreed that she was a good fit, commenting that the daughter of Dick Pedersen is sure to have the same work ethic. And they were not wrong — everyone knows she is always ready to roll up her sleeves and chip in to help.
Rhonda’s had a hand in all facets of our production processes, referring to herself as a Jane of all trades. She’s done purchasing, managed parts, created work orders, performed manual cycle counts, helped with shipping and receiving, supported the safety committee, answered phones, and many other production and engineering functions. Today her primary role is purchasing, but she is still embroiled in many areas.
Technology improvements top her list of considerable changes in the last quarter century. She recalls that work worders were once hand-written, and engineering prints, retrieved from a set of paper masters in a wall of file cabinets, were photocopied on the reverse. Rhonda’s predecessor at the time kept track of vendor contact information on index cards. Purchase orders were printed in triplicate on a dot matrix printer, where one went to receiving, one was kept for our records, and one was mailed to the vendor. Purchases were made by phone call and fax. We had an ERP system called Platinum, which required a duplicate data entry from our paper processes. Outbound carrier records were handwritten in a master register.
Rhonda was a super user during the GlobalShop implementation in the early 2000s. Today she’s our guru and administrator and does a fantastic job of managing our licenses and keeping our production records in ship shape.
Another change that stands out in her memory is facility modifications. Just think that the now initial processing building, at one time, contained nearly all our parts and machining centers. We later added floors to the building, and the space was used for parts, purchasing, and engineering before the large expansion in 2008.
Rhonda remarked on organizational restructuring and personnel changes in her time. She’s overlapped with two presidents, two controller/CFOs, three purchasing managers, three plant manager managers, three sales managers, and an operations manager.
She fondly recalls all the great relationships she’s formed with colleagues and vendors and how they’ve been like a second family to her. She’s been the recipient of employee support that has helped her get through some tough times.
She comments on what sustains her in her career at Akkerman: “I love what I do, and I feel like I’m an instrumental part of the process and contributing to a greater purpose.”
“Akkerman has been a great company to work for—it’s a very family-oriented environment. I’ve raised my children while working here, and Akkerman’s flexibility has meant so much to me.”
Akkerman has a robust gallery of videos covering equipment and projects we are proud of. Go to YouTube channel
Nick Barrington, Mechanic and Senior Field Technician, came to Akkerman on January 2, 2019. Nick was nominated because of his exemplary field work, persistence, positive attitude, and support of multiple product lines.
“Nick has been on some tough jobs recently and has persevered with a positive attitude. He continues to learn from challenges and has grown as a technician.”
“Nick does a phenomenal job communicated in the field. When he calls to discuss problems, he is organized and clear. His technician reports are complete and thorough.”