BY O.J. EARLY
John Deere, one of the world's largest producers of agriculture equipment, is celebrating 175 years of service this year.
To commemorate the anniversary, John Deere factories across the United States celebrated with various activities last weekend.
The local John Deere plant, on Hal Henard Road, took part in the nationwide Deere celebrations, with events from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. last Saturday.
"Think about how many companies [that] are a 175 years old," said Jeff Holland, local plant manager. "There are very, very few. It is a momentous occasion for us."
Invited to Saturday's festivities were John Deere employees, along with their families and special guests.
Visitors to the plant were treated to a variety of games, lots of food, various forms of entertainment and self-guided tours through the plant.
Children had the chance to play on inflatables, in addition to participating in many games.
About 1,000 people came out for the event, Holland estimated.
John Deere was founded in 1873 by blacksmith and inventor John Deere.
These days, John Deere specializes in the manufacturing of various agriculture-type equipment.
The top product assembled at the local plant is riding lawn tractors.
Holland says one of the key reasons that John Deere has been able to be successful for as long as it has is good management.
"It really starts with leadership," he said. "The company has had very solid leadership throughout the ages."
There have been nine CEOs in the company's history.
In a June 2012 interview on the Fox Buisness Show, John Deere CEO Samuel Allen predicted a record-breaking year for the Illinois-based company.
Robbie Bailey, manager of employee relations at the Greeneville plant, said John Deere's end products are a big reason why the company is still in existence after 175 years.
"I think it clearly demonstrates that John Deere is a quality company as well as a quality producer," she said.