Keith Olson (Left), 4Rivers Equipment CEO accepting 2012 Onyx Circle Award from Dominic Rucculo (Right), John Deere SVP Worldwide Sales & Marketing Construction & Forestry Division
After 41 years of distinguished service, Keith Olson has announced his retirement as of January 1, 2021, from his position as Chief Executive Officer of 4Rivers Equipment. John Shearer current, Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Keith as CEO. John and Keith have worked very closely for the past seven years, preparing for this transition.
Gratitude for Keith’s guidance and friendship have been widespread. Chairman of 4Rivers Board, Mark Romer, commented, “Keith has been a mentor and a friend for over 40 years. Under his leadership, defined by his endless enthusiasm and genuine love for both the company and the employees, 4Rivers has become a preeminent John Deere dealership. From myself, my family, and all the members of the 4Rivers family, I express my heartfelt thanks for his dedicated service and best wishes for a happy and adventurous retirement.”
Keith will continue to help guide 4Rivers as a partner and a board member.
Keith Olson was born and raised on a farm in the small town of Cozad, Nebraska. He attended the University of Nebraska, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing and Economics.
After graduation, Keith started his career with John Deere. Throughout his nine and a half year career with John Deere, he held positions such as Collector, Territory Manager, Governmental Sales Specialist, and District Manager.
In 1979 Keith joined the Romer-Young group as the Colorado Springs dealership manager known then as Central Colorado Equipment. Under Keith’s leadership, the dealership thrived and grew. In 1988 the 3 Romer construction dealerships, Southern Colorado Equipment, Central Colorado equipment, and Larimer Equipment, combined into Colorado Machinery. Keith was a part of a three-person team that led the companies.
In 2001 Keith became the General Manager, and Colorado Machinery continued to flourish. Over the next twelve years, Keith grew sales and market share in both the construction and the agricultural businesses. Throughout this time, Keith also gave his time and expertise by serving on various dealer board positions, including President of the Dealer Board.
In 2013 Colorado Machinery purchased the Construction & Forestry dealerships in New Mexico and El Paso, TX, and reorganized as 4Rivers Equipment with Keith as its CEO. Since that time, 4Rivers has been recognized as an Onyx dealer six times and continues to be a top dealership within the John Deere organization.
“Serving our customers and each other as “Your Working Partner” makes each day go quickly and brings rewards of accomplishment that are hard to describe. It has been said that if you are doing what you love to do, you will never work a day in your life. I truly have loved my 41 years at 4Rivers Equipment,” says Olson.
Keith leaves a strong legacy within 4Rivers, John Deere, and the dealer network of hard work and a remarkable drive for excellence.
“Keith has led 4Rivers Equipment through some of the most evolutionary years as a dealership. He navigated the 80s farming crisis. Keith also started when we were still doing business without computers, and today both our business and equipment have more computers than we ever expected. Keith is known as someone that learns everyone’s names and listens to everyone’s concerns. He is the definition of ‘Your Working Partner,’ “says John Shearer.
“I am leaving our company in good hands. I have always said that I want to look back upon 4Rivers ten years after I retire and see that you have taken our vision of being the best to another level. It will be fun to watch this happen!” says Keith.
John Shearer, Presiding CEO 4Rivers Equipment
After serving in Germany with the 1st Infantry Division as a technician, John Shearer began his Dealership career in 1984 as a Service Technician with Plasterer Equipment, a John Deere dealership in Pennsylvania. Over time, his role there grew to Service Manager.
In 1996, John joined the Rivers Group at James River Equipment in Fishersville, VA. He moved to Ashland, VA, in 1998 and 2000 became the Vice President of Product Support. In this role, John demonstrated an unwavering dedication to customers and employees. During the 12 years he was in this position, the product support business increased fivefold.
In 2013, John was given the opportunity to move to Colorado to join 4Rivers Equipment as the General Manager of Construction and Forestry. He was responsible for integrating the newly acquired New Mexico and Texas locations with the already well established Colorado locations. In 2019, John was promoted to Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for both the Construction and Agricultural divisions.
John is an active advocate for the industry as well. He has served on the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) Board from 2012-14 and Associated Equipment Dealer (AED) Board from 2015-2020. John is currently serving on the John Deere Dealer Association Board.
Mark Romer notes, “John’s career path with us has been nothing less than inspiring. From his beginnings as a John Deere technician, John has been the model example of how hard work, dedication, and true determination can lead to success. He has both a proven ability to lead and a record of sound decision making. I am very pleased to have John as our new CEO and look forward to the many successes of both him and 4Rivers in the coming years.”
About 4Rivers: 4Rivers Equipment, an equipment dealership specializing in construction and agriculture products, was built on the principle that partnership is the key to offering superior products and services to its customers. This focus on partnering with customers has helped 4Rivers Equipment, becoming one of the most widely respected John Deere dealers in the country. The steady growth in sales, rentals, parts, service, and technology is a direct reflection of their dedication to the motto: “Your Working Partner.”