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Brea Harms
The upper-level ACE courses were incredibly interesting to me. I really enjoyed the critical thinking and application of what I learned. I now realize that’s how I work. I like to learn information and then dig in deeply to apply it to make a difference.

Profile: Brea Harms

Alumni
Product line manager, application equipment

Brea Harms has been with John Deere for nine years, and says it has always been a “very dynamic and challenging work environment."

Harms said she can’t imagine working with people that are more "salt of the earth" than those she works with every day – from the John Deere employees to the John Deere dealers.

She has taken on a new job in the company, product line manager in application equipment. “It’s my first role in a product line, as everything else I’ve done within Deere has been dealer-facing,” she said. “This job enables me to learn more about the manufacturing and order fulfillment side of the business that drives the company. I’m also learning more about the needs of the customer, and trying to ensure that we’re meeting those needs with our products.”

Because Deere is a global company and the Des Moines-manufactured sprayers ship around the world [Harms manages the sprayer marketing team], she said her new position has also given her increased knowledge of customers and agriculture around the world.

Harms recently had the opportunity to spend a week in Brazil with eight other members of the global application product line marketing team. “That experience was fantastic,” she said. “We attended Agrishow [a large farm show similar to Farm Progress], visited two sugar mills and a cane field, and visited a competitive customer. This was one of the best experiences in my career with the company so far.”

Harms said she struggled to determine the right option within ACE as a student, and didn’t land on Agribusiness, Farm and Financial Management until her junior year. “That was the perfect baseline knowledge for a career in sales and marketing within John Deere,” she said. “The upper-level ACE courses were incredibly interesting to me. I really enjoyed the critical thinking and application of what I learned. I now realize that’s how I work. I like to learn information and then dig in deeply to apply it to make a difference. My master’s in ag education enhanced all of this by giving me tools to think about how I communicate with others.”

Harms said her experience at Illinois was “awesome. I was part of a huge, well-known institution, but at the same time I was part of a small, well-known community of people in the College of ACES. It provided the best of both worlds…the personal touch that some students want, the opportunities that all students should be afforded, and the strength that comes with a University of Illinois degree.”