Pictured Above: Though they don’t often meet personally, Wayne Ostermeyer (right) and Andy Goodman (left) have operated through the same association and worked together to serve Ostermeyer Equipment’s needs, whether that be with tax on parts, quarterly check-ins or planning for a fruitful succession in the dealership.
Andy Goodman, President, Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Assn. (INEDA), Johnston, Iowa
Wayne Ostermeyer, President, Ostermeyer Equipment, Shelton, Neb.
Editor's Note: After 25 years of service representing farm equipment dealers, Andy Goodman, president and CEO of the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Assn., will retire at the end of the year. Farm Equipment sat down with Goodman for one last interview. Thank you for your dedication to the industry and its dealers.
Wayne Ostermeyer: I'm the president of our corporation that we set up to keep the business going smoothly, which I have my son set up as the next one to step in, whether he's in-house or out of house so to speak. Succession planning is really important, especially at my age. My dad went through it. He passed away a few years ago, so it passed over pretty smoothly and I want to make sure it keeps going like that.
To me, succession planning is personally important but then also we also need to keep our customers supported. We're hoping to keep it rolling through another 40-50 years with the help of the association and good employees.
Andy Goodman: Yes. This equipment is sophisticated and one of the essential pieces is having the dealer there who can service the equipment, has the technical knowledge and also the parts availability to keep it running.
“I know from my own personal situation in selling a family owned business that there are personal things that tug at you and you need to be able to talk to somebody who's outside of that to help you through the process …”
We have worked a lot in dealership succession and also mergers and acquisitions. Wayne, you mentioned earlier that, at some point in time, you’re going to go through a transitioning process in your business. I don't know that this is an M&A situation, but it certainly is a succession situation where we can talk confidentially with you and make suggestions on how you can do things, recommend attorneys, accountants that have experience in this arena and facilitators who can help you go through the process. We're also kind of a sounding board for dealers. I know from my own personal situation in selling a family owned business that there are personal things that tug at you and you need to be able to talk to somebody who's outside of that to help you through the process. That's part of what we do.
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Ostermeyer: I got lucky when I took over for my dad. That's why the association would be a lot of help for any dealer doing this. We would not have had the business incorporated like we did and have myself named on there with my mother and my wife. My dad, when he passed away, it was sole proprietorship. With sole proprietorship, once that person has passed away, legally it doesn't just automatically move over to the son or the wife.
We would have had to start all over from the beginning with all the manufacturers. They wouldn't even ship you a part anymore after that point in time. It's big. Anybody dealing with it has to have something in place now, not tomorrow. You can't wait. It's vital and that's where the association can be a really big help.
Vermeer was a big instigator in helping us get that going honestly. The manufacturers want dealers to keep going. They don't want to have to start over either.
“With sole proprietorship, once that person has passed away, the manufacturers wouldn't even ship you a part anymore … Anybody dealing with it has to have something in place now, not tomorrow. You can’t wait …”
Goodman: That's one of my areas that I work with, is helping dealers through that transition, understanding the dealer contracts and understanding and communicating with the manufacturers. What's important to keep in mind is we want it to work well for everybody. Number one for the customer, for the dealer and for the manufacturer.
Dealer succession has been a hot topic for a long time. A lot of it is counseling and then structuring the legal and the accounting side of it. But the real issue that we get into is what is it you really want to do with the business? Do you have a successor who wants this business? Does this successor have the basics that the manufacturer wants in terms of the capital capability, the management capability, the integrity, the relationships with the customers to move this forward?
One issue is, do you have the capital to take this forward in the future? If it's getting more technical and you have to hire more technical people, do you have the capital to do that or do you need to build a bigger building for bigger equipment? The second thing is, and this may be the most important one, the management capability. Do you have the management capability to run a business in today's market and into the future? Do you have a good understanding of marketing? Do you have a good understanding of product? Do you work well with people? They need to have a good, strong finance background. You need all of those today to be successful in the business world.