When the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a global pandemic in early 2020, many people found themselves adapting to new circumstances. For Jordan Graber, it was an unexpected pivot to what would become a new career.
“Everything took me by surprise, because when I came into this, it was based on circumstances,” says Graber, Sales Representative at Bauman Manufacturing.
“I wouldn’t have found myself here otherwise. And it was better and bigger and more amazing than I could have thought.”
Graber studied social psychology in university with the intention of pursuing occupational therapy or becoming a teacher. When the pandemic and social distancing restrictions made it impossible to take on related roles that worked with people directly, Graber joined Eldale Machine and Tool/Bauman Manufacturing to develop web content and work on price books. Though that work would be temporary, the uncertainty of the pandemic led Graber to try working on the plant floor.
“I was just taking in everything that was going on, and I thought it was really interesting,” says Graber. “Eventually I started working in machines, and then that turned into a lot of custom repairing, and then that turned into repairs on the CNCs as well as running hydraulic presses, lathes and things like that.”
“It just grew from there. And I liked it way, way more than I expected to.”
Graber found inspiration in how the machinery and parts made at Eldale played a direct role in helping farmers feed the world.
“What you see in the grocery store [isn’t] everything that’s behind it,” says Graber. “[Ag manufacturing] impacts so many people.”
By November 2021, after nearly two years with Eldale, Graber was torn between applying for a teachers’ college or continuing in a different role in agricultural manufacturing.
“I was at this standstill point where I was really loving the work I was doing, but I also felt that I wanted something where I could work with people more,” says Graber.
When a new role opened at Eldale’s sister company, Bauman Manufacturing, in the sales department, Graber applied and was hired, starting as a Sales Representative in January 2022.
“That was just the perfect fit,” says Graber. “It was something where I could interact with people and use problem solving and creative abilities.”
Bauman is an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) as well as an aftermarket distributor for leaders in PTO drive shafts as well as power transmission components, including chains, sprockets, pulleys, belts, bearings and more. In her role, Graber is constantly learning while setting up orders and responding to customer inquiries, helping them solve problems or find the answers they need.
“Every week, and every day, I’m learning something new,” says Graber. “I’ve been very lucky in my role, because I’ve been able to build it in a way that allows me to learn as much as I can. There’s always more and more to learn.”
While Graber’s original career trajectory might not have directly connected to agricultural manufacturing, she explained a strong skillset and a willingness to learn provide a solid foundation for anyone looking to get started.
“There are so many pathways you can take,” says Graber, noting her sales manager had originally trained to be a veterinary technician. “The common thing is that you have a knowledge of agriculture, and you have a passion to contribute to it.”
While Graber isn’t sure what role her career will lead her to next, she is certain that it will be in ag manufacturing.
“I came to the realization that this is where I want to spend my career,” says Graber. “When I was searching for a career, I wanted something where no day is the same – I can learn, grow, and always find opportunities to develop my skills.”
“I definitely didn’t think I would find it [in ag manufacturing], but that’s exactly where I found it.”