DAVIS, CA — Far West Equipment Dealers Association (FWEDA) membership elected four new directors and installed officers to the board at the 73rd Annual Membership Meeting held virtually Nov. 5, 2020.

FWEDA is a not-for-profit trade association representing agricultural, industrial, outdoor power and rental equipment dealers. The organization provides a unified voice protecting and promoting the interests of dealers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Established in 1946, FWEDA advocates for dealers at the local, state and national level, and is an affiliate of the national Equipment Dealers Association.

The newly appointed directors include Blaze Griffin, Richard Arias, Rob Jackson and Mike Dihel. They join the board under the direction of Chairman Bill Garton and Vice Chairman Russell Ball.

Blaze Griffin is the owner of Carter Agri-Systems, an AGCO, New Holland & Massey Ferguson farm equipment dealership with locations in Lund and Winnemucca, Nevada, Griffin is the fourth generation working in the family dealership, that was established in 1927.

“I grew up working on our family farm and at the farm equipment dealership.” Griffin said. “As the fourth generation, we have had to be adaptable to the changing markets and business climates while still trying to embody the principles and culture that has led to success. Prior generations have set the example of community involvement, growth, customer communication, and sustainable processes.”

“We continue to try to embody these values,” Griffin said.

Griffin was born and raised in the small town of Lund, Nev. He has a degree in Business Management from Brigham Young University and is married with three children.

Richard Arias was first introduced to Southwest agriculture when he was 5 years old, where his family began doing custom irrigation for farmers in the Imperial Valley. He joined the family irrigation business in 2001, which was sold to RDO Equipment Company in 2013. Arias is RDO’s Vice President of Sales for the Irrigation and Equipment business in the Southwest and Mexico operations.

Arias was born and raised in San Diego, Calif., and graduated from the University of San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He is married with two children.

RDO Equipment Company has more than 75 stores in nine states, selling and supporting agriculture, construction, environmental, irrigation, positioning and surveying equipment from leading manufacturers including John Deere, Vermeer and Topcon. RDO Equipment Co. also has partnerships in Africa, Australia, Mexico, Russia, and Ukraine.

Director of Operations West Region for Stotz Equipment Rob Jackson has been with the company for five years and developed a passion for the industry and the people in it.

Jackson stated “I am excited to be on the [FWEDA] Board and to try to make a difference in the industry for our members. We all have great opportunities ahead.”

Jackson spent most of his childhood just outside of Denver, Colo., but also lived in Arizona and California. He earned a bachelor’s in social science and an MBA from Babson College. Prior to Stotz, he worked in corporate startups, management and sales.

Arizona-based Stotz Equipment was founded in 1947 as Arizona Machinery, and currently has 25 locations across eight western states.

“Throughout its multi-generational family history, Stotz has held true to its core values of Quality, Integrity, loyalty, caring and community,” Jackson stated. “Our mission is to make life easier for our customers through long-term relationships, flexible solutions, and uptime availability.”

Mike Dihel joined the FWEDA board to give back to the industry and lead the younger generations by example.

Dihel has worked in the equipment industry for more than 40 years. He is President and General Manager for a three-location New Holland and Mahindra dealership, Beeler Tractor, in Northern California.

Dihel’s previous board experience comes from serving two terms on the Mahindra Dealer Council and has also served as President for the Sutter Area Little League and the Sutter Youth Organization.

Stepping up from board to Vice Chair this year is Russell Ball. Ball joined the FWEDA Board in November 2017. He is currently the South District Manager for 21st Century Equipment, a John Deere dealer with 16 locations across Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming. In total, Ball has spent 26 years with the dealership.

Ball and his wife reside in Cheyenne Wells, Colo., and spend their free time watching over their 11 grandchildren.

FWEDA Chairman Bill Garton is serving his 8th year and second term. He has led the board since November 2019. Garton is President of the four-generation, family-owned tractor dealership, Garton Tractor, Inc., which was established in the 1940s as Cornforth Tractor. The dealership carries the Kubota and New Holland lines and has 10 locations in Northern California.

Garton joined the Company in 1979 after graduating from the University of Pacific, Stockton. He has been married for 37 years to Linette, and currently has four grandchildren.

FWEDA has one additional board opening they are looking to fill, as well as additional committee positions.

“We strive to keep pace with the growing demands of complex technology in today’s modern equipment industry,” FWEDA President & CEO Joani Woelfel stated. “We transcend all industry business relationships from adversary to collaborative by engaging with other industry leaders at FWEDA events and activities, including annual FWEDA Conferences, Regional Dealer Meetings and Virtual Peer Group Roundtables.”

Anyone interested in joining the FWEDA membership, the Board Of Directors or a committee is encouraged to contact Woelfel at ceo@fweda.com or visit www.fweda.com.

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