Rupp’s Rant – Dec 2023

Rupp’s Rant – Dec 2023

Not the red and green you were expecting this year?


Dear Sod friends, we’ve reached a defining moment!

If you’ve ever worked in a startup, one of the benefits is to look in the not-too-distant past and realize just how much you’ve transformed in such a short amount of time. I’ve worked at my fair share of Fortune 500 companies throughout my career, and I tell you, it’s like steering a massive battleship. I prefer the startup world, developing state-of-the-art technology, steering a canoe across the waters, and bumping into a defining moment. 

The past year has been a wild ride. We were the first company to actually productize a retrofit kit that attaches to an off-the-shelf tractor. We set up a dealer network and trained them on installation and support. If I knew exactly where this was going to take us, I would be lying. With every other company I started in the past, I knew we would encounter that defining moment.

Last spring, I learned one of our autonomous systems was being deployed at, of all things, a sod farm in Kansas, called “The Sod Shop”. I grew up on a corn and soybean farm, had driven past several sod farms over the years, had never been on one, and wanted to learn how they intended to use autonomy in their operations. I jumped in my truck, traveled down to Lawrence, KS and met with Wade Wilbur and his team. I had no idea as to the complexity of these operations, the repetitive field operations, and their constant labor challenges. For our company, this was certainly a defining moment.

The past 6 months have been nothing but exciting for our company. Although we’ve deployed several systems into the sod industry, our greatest accomplishment was immersing ourselves into your industry. We thank you for the help and advice everybody in the sod industry has given us. We are indeed listening. Our elves will be announcing Steward support for the Deere 5100E tractor this week. Yes, this is yet another defining moment.

 

Craig

 

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