Deere associates first inspired by LEGO

Kayla McIntyre and Charlotte Kroc today mentor young students the way they were helped.
John Deere Kayla McIntyre
Kayla McIntyre, Deere associate, was first inspired as a youngster by LEGO.

The beauty of inspiration is that it can lead to innovations that help lives leap forward.

“That’s why at John Deere, our employees are helping nurture inspiration in young minds by working with LEGO and Farmcraft,” said the company.

The “FIRST LEGO League” Challenge (FLL) had inspired Kayla McIntyre and Charlotte Kroc at a young age, and further guided their career path at John Deere.

FLL is a program designed to teach elementary and middle school students about problem solving by providing hands-on activities using LEGO pieces.

FIRST is a not-for-profit international youth organization that operates robotics and LEGO League competitions to inspire students in the engineering and technology fields.

“FLL taught me how to solve problems, learn how to code, and practice research and public speaking,” said McIntyre, a materials specialist, who joined the program in fourth grade.

“The skills I use most often in my current role are the ability to problem solve and think out of the box. When I encounter issues with my current plan, I shift gears and think of a different way that all assembly lines can still get the parts they need on time,” said McIntyre.

Kroc started with FLL in sixth grade and agreed the skills she learned played a key role in choosing her career as a quality engineer.

“I would not be where I am today without FLL,” said Kroc. “Seeing other girls on FLL teams at competitions was extremely beneficial for me growing up and helped reinforce my desire to go into engineering as a career.”

Kroc and McIntyre are both very passionate about FLL, said the company. Even today, they volunteer to mentor and inspire future engineers in FIRST – a program sponsored by the John Deere Foundation.

John Deere LEGO truck Tim's photo
John Deere and LEGO, on shelves now in time for summer play.

The newly launched John Deere LEGO 9R tractor also jumpstarts innovation for youth. The toy was designed and configured with exact specs to mimic a real tractor, said the firm.

From the tire details to its weight to even special features like the hood and body style, all were taken into consideration and approved by John Deere technical experts. “Its precision ignites youth to think about accuracy and discover similarities with actual equipment.”

FarmCraft was also designed to get children to think creatively. “The online virtual experience puts children behind the wheel of a John Deere machine to complete unique farming missions like planting, growing, and harvesting,” said the company.

“For us, it’s a chance to educate youth about the importance of agriculture,” said Brooke Schmidt, global brand licensing category manager at Deere.

“FarmCraft and our partnership with LEGO, aligns with our mission to inspire all kids to make a positive impact on the world through agriculture and create a new generation of innovators who will improve lives and livelihoods.”