Peter Leech receives Award of Merit
John Deere's manager, customer support Peter Leech has been presented with the prestigious Award of Merit from the Institution of Agricultural Engineers. The award was made for his work in fostering and promoting the recruitment, retention and recognition of service technicians in the agricultural and land-based industries.
He joins an illustrious list of previous Award of Merit recipients, including Ray Clay of JCB, the designer of the Fastrac (2004), Helmut Claas (2003) and Joseph (Joe) Bamford (1999).
Born into a farming family in Lincolnshire, Peter Leech has spent his entire working life in the agricultural sector. He joined John Deere Limited in 1971 at Langar at the age of 20 and, with the exception of a three-year overseas assignment at the Mannheim tractor factory, has been involved in UK product support ever since. Peter currently manages over 45 staff in the company's customer support department, covering all aspects of the service and parts operations, as well as the all important John Deere Training Centre.
The award citation reads: "Peter has long been concerned that the company's service function should match the quality of the product, and this Award of Merit reflects the time and energy he has put into this at John Deere. Indeed, his introduction of the John Deere Ag Tech Diploma and Certificate programmes, in association with Brooksby Melton College, BAGMA, the Training and Enterprise Council, City & Guilds of London Institute and IAgrE, represents an achievement that is now the industry standard to which other companies aspire.
"His work in encouraging dealer technical staff to register as engineering technicians through IAgrE should not be underestimated, both for its raising of staff self-esteem and for its impact on raising the profile of land-based service engineering, to those within and outside our industry.
"Given the success of the John Deere programme, one could forgive Peter if he rested on his laurels, but his recent efforts in supporting the BAGMA/AEA funded industry wide careers initiative shows just how committed Peter is, to this industry as a whole, and to raising the status of service technicians in particular."
The John Deere Ag Tech apprentice engineering training programme, the first of its kind in the UK and the only one to win a National Training Award, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Over 100 graduates of the scheme gathered together at Brooksby Melton College for a special reunion lunch and presentation.
Photo: Peter Leech (left) receiving his Award of Merit certificate and citation from IAgrE president Peter Redman at the awards ceremony, held at Harper Adams University College in March.