In addition to helping dealers throughout his 40-year career, Jim Irwin, retired Case IH vice president of North American Ag Business, had company-store experience during his days at International Harvester in the early 1960s.

In looking back at his career, Irwin said he did OK on the manufacturing side of the business, but added that there was a time when he wanted to be a dealer. “But it was probably a good thing I didn’t,” he says.

He recalls the day he left the office for the last time. “I wrote a note to all the dealers and shared the reason I had so much respect for them. It was because they put it on the line every day; their individual net worth and a lot of times that of their family and multi-generations. They put it at risk every day. To be honest with you, I don’t know if I could have done that.”

And Irwin is well aware of the maxim that one shouldn’t be telling somebody how to do something if they can’t do it themselves. “I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’m pretty proud of the fact that I could help figure out ways to help those people out there doing it; to help them figure out ways to make it work.”