Chris Cooper, product marketing manager at Hayter and Toro consumer brands, was recently named President of the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA). In his new role, he hopes to focus on encouraging more young people to pursue career opportunities in the industry and helping to further promote and advance the interests of AEA members.
Chris started out in the industry at Ransomes Jacobsen Ltd, after graduating from college as a design engineer in 2002. A year later, he joined Hayter as a design engineer and assumed the role as product manager in 2006 when Toro acquired Hayter. He is now responsible for product management and marketing of the Hayter and Toro consumer brands in the UK.
"The AEA is all about diversification and making sure member companies have a voice from within the association," said Chris. "As incoming President, I will be helping with the development of the AEA, and continuing the great work that has been done. With the Board and Director General, Ruth Bailey, and through the member companies, we will also be looking at ways to help future proof our industry."
"At the moment, there is a lot of discussion around how we can get young people into our industry. However, I believe the bigger challenge is not how we recruit these young people, but how we retain them and continue to advance their professional development. For myself, I never thought I would follow the path I have taken; however, once I got more familiar with the industry and started working with the likes of Real Madrid CF and Arsenal FC, I realised it was completely different to what I first thought.
"This industry can give young people a great chance to get out and talk to people from all different backgrounds, experiences and cultures around the world. There is great scope to make a difference in this industry."
Chris will be the second youngest president in the association's history. He hopes to use his recent experiences and career journey to help younger people develop and have a voice within the industry. His role will commenced on the 10th April.