Women’s History Month: The Women Behind Trimble Ag
March 17, 2021
Celebrating the Legacy of Trimble Women in Agriculture
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re talking with some of the women at Trimble that have been instrumental in the agriculture and farming industry. Below, we chat with Trimble Ag team members and dealers to get a glimpse into the past, present and future of ag, including:
- Carol Snyder – Ag Training Manager, Trimble Agriculture
- DeImna Heiken – Triangle Ag-Services
- Elaine Daly – Field Applications Engineer, Trimble Agriculture
- Lisa Wetherbee – General Manager, Trimble Advanced Positioning
- Taylor Close – Agriculture Software Product Manager, Trimble Connected Farm
Tell us a little bit about your background. What got you started in agriculture and how did you end up at Trimble?
Carol: I grew up on a farm in Western Colorado. Not many people get to have that tie to the land anymore as they’re generations away from the farm. There is something about that tie to nature and working with the land that resonates with me. I went to college for Ag Business and got my master’s degree for teaching while working with a precision farming company. I’ve now been training at Trimble for nearly nine years – it’s the perfect fit to combine my passion for ag and desire to teach.
DeImna: I grew up on a small farm and worked for a seed company during high school. While the other high school girls were working at fast food restaurants, I was cross-pollinating peas and documenting plant stages. I was the first girl they ever hired to work in the field! After a year as a music major in college, I realized I liked being outside and changed my major. Now, my husband works with me at Triangle Ag, and our son is poised to take over the company – making it a true family farming business!
Elaine: I was born into an agriculture family. My family has been farmers and ranchers for many generations, so the love of the industry was instilled in me by both the 4-H and FFA youth programs. Through an internship at a local Co-op, I became interested in the soil and crop sciences field that led me to the precision agriculture industry. I’ve now been at Trimble for 10 years and love working in the field with farmers to help them utilize precision farming tools to increase productivity and efficiencies.
Lisa:I come from a long line of farmers – people who pioneered, homesteaded, tended the land and worked remarkably hard. I was the first generation in my family to grow up off the farm, so having the opportunity to design and develop some of the early manual GPS guidance systems for agriculture was both technologically exciting and also made me feel a part of that history. Though I came to Trimble 27 years ago for aerospace, I’ve spent a good amount of time in the ag division and now oversee the correction services team who help farmers stay on their lines year-after-year.
Taylor: I grew up in a farming community in Colorado. Out of high school, I knew I wanted to be in Ag. While attending the University of Wyoming for agronomy and soil sciences, I interned and was eventually hired on full-time at a Co-op in Northeastern Colorado that became a beta test site for Trimble precision ag. Two years ago, I came to Trimble for the Connected Farm division. In this position, I get to develop customer segmentation and value propositions to figure out what we need to build and how we add value. I couldn’t think of a cooler place to be!
What excites you about the intersection of the agriculture industry and Trimble, and why do you do what you do?
DeImna: I’ve been a Trimble ag reseller since the early days of Trimble Ag – around 2000. I had worked with other brands of precision ag technology, but Trimble was a whole new player on the scene. I’ve heard so many amazing success stories – from growers thanking me for an autosteer system that allows them to work longer hours without fatigue; wives telling me their husbands aren’t as crabby and sore; some have avoided shoulder surgery because they aren’t don’t have to turn and check behind them as they steer – all because of the products Trimble creates that have improved farmers lives significantly. These benefits aren’t just marketing lines, they really make a big difference in people’s lives!
Taylor: No surprise, but the technology. There are a lot of regulations coming down across the world that will make farming even harder soon, but the technology we now provide can help make things easier for farmers. Whether they like it or not, farmers are going to need the technology more than ever to run a profitable and successful business.
What has been the most exciting part of your career in ag?
Lisa: When I joined Trimble, there wasn’t an agriculture division. It was such a thrill to be part of Trimble’s earliest work in agriculture – figuring out how we could make a difference, working long hours taking feedback from users and testing various algorithms to make them work with different kinds of fields and ways of working a field. We were such a small group “in the trenches” back then – even as an engineer, you got to experience so many aspects of the business. Everything was a first for us, which was both intense and exciting. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in the past 25 years. The things we’re working on today were just science fiction back then. Over the years, I’ve worked in several businesses across Trimble. There’s something special about our ag customers, so it’s gratifying to be a part of making their work easier and helping them reach their goals.
Elaine: The most exciting part of my career has been to be involved in cutting-edge technology. When I started in the industry in 1996, GPS technology in agriculture seemed like an illusion to me – how could someone be able to pinpoint your position from a satellite thousands of miles away!? Accuracy at that time was roughly 100 meters due to the military use of Selective Availability, so farmers couldn’t see the value. When I installed and demonstrated the first lightbar guidance systems in the late ‘90s, I was hooked because I could see how this technology could keep the equipment online while replacing traditional foam and mechanical marker methods. This technology quickly became assisted and automated steering systems that we know today with repeatable accuracy.
Any obstacles you’ve had to overcome and/or advice for females looking to get into the industry?
Carol: While the Ag industry has been predominantly male-dominated, I’ve never felt like I wasn’t accepted or treated the same just because I was a female. Everyone in the industry is open-minded, and they’re willing to accept someone for their skill set rather than their sex – much more so than other male-dominated industries. Agriculture is so broad – it’s not just feeding the livestock or planting crops. There are so many different facets of ag, and plenty of opportunities for women to have a role. My advice is to just go for it and don’t let anything hold you back.
Elaine: Agriculture has been a predominantly male industry and acceptance of women is not always easily given by farmers because we were not seen as knowledgeable or experienced sources. My late father instilled in me at a young age that I could do anything I wanted to, as well as any man, if I had the knowledge and skills needed to perform the tasks. He treated me the same as my brothers and expected nothing less from me. When I began my career, farmers wanted their questions answered and problems solved quickly and efficiently. I learned how to communicate and demonstrate my knowledge and passion for agriculture technology to gain their trust and acceptance. My advice to anyone is to be passionate and possess the most knowledge and skill about your area of expertise.
Taylor: I didn’t even think about the fact that I was a woman and it might be harder. I went after my goals with the approach that I would’ve if I were a male – diving right in, finding the job I wanted and going for it. The biggest advice I can give is to get your foot in the door. I also learned quickly to take advantage of other females you meet in the industry. Connect, and maintain, connections with as many other women in the industry as you can.agtech, Female farmers, precision agriculture, The future is female, Trimble Agriculture, Women in Ag, Women in Agriculture, Women's History Month