McConnel’s longest serving employee, Steve Foulger, is saying goodbye to the business after a career spanning six decades.
Best known as McConnel’s service manager, Steve’s first job was actually to break machines rather than keep them in peak condition. Joining as a field test engineer back in 1968, he was given the role of pushing an innovative new prototype to its limits to see how it could be improved.
That machine would finally be unveiled as the legendary PA44. McConnel’s first Power Arm with a flailhead attachment – it was also available with a digger armset and quickly became one of the company’s most successful and popular products.
Steve’s experience testing a diverse range of products made him the ideal choice to become McConnel’s demonstrator for industrial machinery – showcasing and selling Power Arms, forklifts, grabs and diggers to local-authorities and construction companies across the country.
But it was the development of a completely new product that was to have the biggest impact on Steve’s career – the Carib sugar cane harvester.
Taking on the role as McConnel’s Caribbean sales rep, Steve was based in Barbados where he sold the harvester, loaders, and cane processors all over the West Indies - as well as across Central and South America, and West Africa
To promote the machines and the mechanised cultivation system it offered, Steve made a series of promotional 16mm movies, which can still be seen today on McConnel’s Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/g83sz6bCb2Q
In his role as territory manager for East Anglia, Steve went on to play a key role in promoting the Shakaerator and its award-winning low-draught legs, helping the machine win praise from government researchers working on the problem of compaction, who concluded their tests of the machine with the report:
“The Shakaerator will move more soil, more effectively, for less horsepower than anything else on the market.” It’s a verdict Steve believes is still appropriate today – almost 40 years later.
Moving from sales in 2001, Steve took on the role of Service Manager – introducing comprehensive service training courses for dealers and distributors, and the online warranty claims service through the dealer insider portal.
Steve’s retirement will not keep him away from servicing agricultural machinery however. His next big projects will be restoring his beloved Massey MF35 tractor, an International B275 tractor, and a 1967 Series 2 Landrover.
Steve said: “I’ve had a wonderful career and will miss all the friends, colleagues and customers I have worked with. McConnel is a very human company which develops its people and gives them a great chance to progress, so I’m confident it will continue to be successful for many years to come.”