HOBBS, N.M. – When Jason Connel learned he was Territory Champion of the John Deere Technician of the Year Award Program, he was overwhelmed with gratitude and humbled to receive the prestigious honor.
The John Deere Technicians Award Program recognizes those who epitomize what it means to be “John Deere” and honors extraordinary commitment to the brand. Connel, a service technician at Hobbs, was chosen out of a territory-wide pool of nominees.
“To know that somebody thought enough of my work to nominate me was very humbling,” Connel said. “I like to be a part of the team, so to stand out in the crowd is not always my strong front. Just to know that I’ve worked hard, and people recognize that, I think is a great accomplishment.”
4Rivers CEO John Shearer says Connel exemplifies the company’s core values of integrity, respect, commitment and innovation.
“I’m very proud to have one of our technicians named the Territory Champion, especially coming from our location in Hobbs, New Mexico, where it’s not always easy to stand out nationally,” Shearer said. “Jason fits the model for what our vision of an engaged employee is. He volunteers with the community, develops new technicians and is very talented. I don’t think we could have gotten a better candidate and John Deere obviously thought the same thing.”
Connel, who has a reputation for positivity and a knack for customer service, is one of the top technicians at his shop. Hobbs Service Manager Dewayne Spears and Parts Manager Justin Crowder, who nominated Connel for the award, say he is one of the most integral pieces of their aftermarket support.
“Jason has retained his top-notch attitude and ability to focus on what the customer truly wants, needs and expects out of our dealership and the John Deere brand,” the team at Hobbs said in a statement to John Deere. “Jason is always willing to give valuable face time to a customer experiencing a problem. He is an active listener when the customer explains an issue they are having. He has also been willing to go out to a customer’s shop and diagnose a problem when a field technician is not nearby.”
Driven by a passion for the trade and the thrill of a challenge, Connel approaches difficult tasks without forfeiting his signature positive attitude. Amid a technician shortage, he has successfully juggled a stacked job-board without compromising quality of service, something he takes great pride in.
“Customer service motivates me. I really enjoy knowing the customer is happy, visiting and talking with them, and making sure they’re happy with what we are doing. That’s something I think my dad instilled in me— A work-ethic to put out good product and to be productive,” Connel said.
Connel’s passion for the trade was sparked by his father. Growing up, they spent countless hours together at home in the shop working on cars. When it came time to choose a career, Connel’s path was clear as he already knew what he loved to do.
Connel graduated from New Mexico Junior College’s two-year Automotive Technology program. Early in his career he spent 10 years as an automotive mechanist. He later worked in a scrapyard where he got into heavy equipment— leading him to 4Rivers where he’s spent the past eight years.
Throughout his career, Connel has noticed a recurring life lesson that can be learned from the industry.
“You never stop learning new things. I think that is really important because the industry changes so rapidly. The desire to strive and learn is so important. Keeping up with this industry is a challenge and I enjoy that challenge,” Connel said.
A desire to learn and grow is a value Connel instills in the technicians he trains, along with placing an emphasis on quality and thoroughness. According to the team at Hobbs, he’s not only proven to be a top technician but is also a leader.
“Jason is a big role model in the shop to our three newest technicians and his teammates in other departments. He is patient with our future technicians while training them to understand not only how something works, but why the issue at hand is happening. We could not ask for a better mentor or employee out of Jason.”
Outside of the shop, Connel is an active member of the community. He not only participates in dealer sponsored food drives, but volunteers to assist with their logistics and operations. He enjoys traveling to National Parks with his wife of 21 years, Renzi, and riding his horses at home.
On Wednesday, Nov. 16, the Hobbs team will host a luncheon in honor of Connel to celebrate his achievement as 4Rivers first Territory Champion.