The fifth 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.
This time, we talk to Jason Hegarty, Dealer Principal for a Massey Ferguson dealership in the southeast.
Jason Hegarty is the third generation of his family to be involved in their farm machinery dealership. The business, Gordon Hegarty and Sons Ltd, headquartered in Tullow, Co. Carlow, is one of Massey Ferguson’s newest dealers and took on the exclusive franchise for the full-line of MF equipment in October 2018.
“My grandfather Gordon started the business in Tullow in 1968,” says 29-year-old Jason. “Then his sons Henry and Gordon joined in 1975 when it expanded into a larger dealership at its existing premises in Slaney Quarter.”
“As the eldest child in my family I spent a lot of time with my father Henry, delivering tractors and machinery. Summer holidays, Saturdays and after school were all spent in the garage helping out. I always had a strong interest in what my father was doing and in the business and looked forward to the day I turned 16 to get my tractor driving licence.”
After leaving school in 2007 Jason began working full-time for the company while also studying part-time at Carlow Institute of Technology for a Bachelor of Business Management. “I never really considered any alternative type of work and my hopes were always to one day take over the running of the business from my father and uncle,” he explains.
Initially he was placed in the workshop and then went on the road delivering tractors and machinery around the country. “I got my truck licence at the age of 18 and in 2010, we opened a second branch in Kilkenny. I became responsible for all deliveries and machine handovers for both branches,” he says.
In 2013, he took on the role as Branch Manager for the Kilkenny Depot. He looked after the day-to-day running of the workshop, as well as machine ordering and invoicing to customers and finance companies. In 2017, he assumed responsibility for sales in the Kilkenny branch. Today, he shares the role of Dealer Principal with his father and, on top of this, takes care of updating the company website and all advertising and marketing.
“No day or week is ever the same which I really like,” he remarks. “I spend a lot of time on the road calling on farmers. This is a great part of the job as you get to meet a lot of different people. On other days I’m in the office, completing paperwork and meeting with suppliers.”
As with any job, there are highs and lows. “As a Dealer Principal, you need to be prepared to be involved in any part of the business,” Jason adds. “The best bits for me are closing a deal on a tractor or machine. The worst bits are losing deals to competitors and the long working hours.”
He is very ambitious for the future. “We are making significant investments in the business to provide the best service we can to the farming community. In 2018, we purchased the premises we had been renting in Kilkenny which was a big move for the company. Currently, we are building a new stores and offices at our Tullow branch which I am also managing. In the next few years, I would like to extend the workshop at our Tullow branch. Our business would not be where it is today without the team of people who work for us. We have a dedicated and loyal workforce with a low staff turnover which, without a doubt, adds to the company’s success.”
“There are many rewarding aspects to this line of work, but you have to be motivated and prepared to work hard to get results,” he concludes.