Caption: Rosarie Crowley: “The farm machinery industry provides many opportunities and requires many different skills.”
The fourth our series of articles looking at the many strands in which people and organisations are connected to Massey Ferguson and its farm machinery through their careers, business partnerships and farm enterprises.
In this edition, Rosarie Crowley who runs a Massey Ferguson dealership in the south of Ireland, gives us her story.
Although it was her family’s livelihood, involvement in the world of farm machinery was never part of Rosarie Crowley’s game plan. But life has a habit of taking twists and turns, and now she is Managing Director of one of Ireland’s leading agricultural equipment dealers and wholesalers.
Applying her strong business and commercial skills, Rosarie runs Cork Farm Machinery where she is responsible for a team of 32 people and turnover in excess of EUR:20 million. The firm has been a Massey Ferguson dealer for 51 years and is the sole importer for Kuhn agricultural machinery and Rauch fertilizer spreaders.
Rosarie’s late father Frank established the business in 1967 and quickly acquired the Massey Ferguson franchise. He grew the firm into a highly-successful operation and became a major presence in the industry
“I did some work for dad in the holidays but that was just to earn a bit of pocket money,” she says. “I wasn’t interested in machinery, my focus was horses.”
After leaving school she studied at Cork Institute of Technology and also at Dublin Business School, gaining a degree in accountancy and finance. In addition, she studied marketing and went on to pass her professional accountancy exams.
Her first job was with Heineken working in the accountancy area. She moved on later to Henkel, manufacturers of washing powder, again doing accountancy.
“By now, my dad was 68 and he approached me asking if I would consider joining him in the business,” Rosarie remarks. “I’m the second youngest of five children but none of the others were interested or really suited. I gave the offer serious thought for two or three months and, in the end, I decided if I don’t do it, I might regret it. I’m really happy I went ahead.”
She joined in 2004 and took over the day-to-day running of the business when Frank retired.
“My strengths are on the financial and commercial side. A business is a business and, no matter what you are trading in, the same principles apply. It’s the dynamics within a business that make it successful,” she explains.
“As I’m not a mechanic, the highly-technical aspects of machinery can sometimes present a challenge to me but we are a strong team and everyone contributes their specialities.
“I believe that if you have an appetite for what you are doing, you can always learn. If you are interested, you can do anything.”
As MD, Rosarie is responsible for the overall company whose team works together to achieve sales and business targets. She oversees the parts, sales and service operations within the company and works directly with the Kuhn, Rauch and Massey Ferguson factories. “60% of my day is based on core activities, while the other 40% varies,” she says. “I might go and see a dealer, meet with a retail customer or have a meeting with auditors for example.”
She manages to combine all this with being a mum to four kids under ten. “Farm machinery is traditionally a man’s world but I’d encourage women not to shy away from a career in this industry,” Rosarie says. “It provides many opportunities and requires many different skills.”
“Cork Farm Machinery has grown substantially in the last 10 years,” she adds. “I like the challenge. We’re always trying to improve – always pushing forwards to do better – I’m motivated by good performance. One of the best parts about this job is hearing that a long-term customer has made another purchase. It’s always good to know we got the sale again and affirms we are getting it right.”