The sixth in our series of articles looking at the many strands in which people and organisations are connected to Massey Ferguson and its farm machinery through their careers, business partnerships and farm enterprises.
Next up is Tina Holland, Accounts/Finance Manager for a Massey Ferguson dealership in Kerry.
Tina Holland’s career started out in fashion retail management with a top womenswear chain but these days she’s more at home behind the parts counter at Kerry Tractors in Tralee.
This comes as no surprise when you learn that Massey Ferguson and farm machinery run in her blood. Her dad, Donal Holland left Ireland for England at the age of 16 in the 1960s to take up an apprenticeship with Massey Ferguson in Coventry. After qualifying, he spent many years travelling around the world for the company as an instructor before returning home to set up a business – Limerick Farm Machinery - in the late 1970s. This led to the creation of Kerry Tractors in 2001.
“There’s always been a strong and passionate connection to Massey Ferguson and to farming in our family,” says Tina. “As well as my Dad’s links through MF, my grandfather was heavily involved in the Farmers Rights Protest of 1967. He was one of the farmers who marched from Bantry to Dublin and sat on the steps of Dail for three weeks.”
On leaving school, Tina went to college but never finished the course. “I was young and eager to get out into the working world!” she explains. “After five years in retail management, I joined Dad in the business in 2011. I was only supposed to be there a few months to lend a hand in the office but I fell in love with it and haven’t looked back since.”
In 2014, she went back to college part-time and qualified as an Accounting Technician.
“I’m now responsible for all the accounting and admin for the business,” she says. “This includes the finance side of machinery sales which involves working out finance repayments for customers, drawing up the paperwork and so on. I’m also responsible for credit control, payroll, warranty administration and managing our online and social media presence.”
Come Saturdays, Tina puts her old retail management hat back on and helps her Dad run the parts counter. “For me, this is the best part of the week as it’s when I get to spend time specifically dealing with customers, helping them and getting to know them,” she remarks. “It’s also where I’ve gained most of my knowledge about tractors and machinery.”
“The worst part of the job for me is probably the commute as I live in Limerick and spend a lot of time travelling up and down. It can be hard to balance work with my home life as I’m also mum to a one-year old daughter. But it always seems to work out okay and I really enjoy what I do.”
“I hope to become even more involved in the business in years to come and to keep learning more about the industry every day. My Dad’s achievements are an inspiration. He’s built up strong relationships and a strong reputation with his customers. The ambition is to carry that on into the future, maintain and expand our customer base and further develop Massey Ferguson’s presence in Kerry.”
“For anyone looking to work in this industry I’d say: Go for it! It’s such an enjoyable and rewarding sector to be part of. And don’t worry if you have little or no experience in agriculture or farming. I didn’t have a lot of agricultural knowledge when I first started here but I’m proud of and grateful for what I’ve learned. I’d also recommend getting involved in organisations like your local Macra. It’s a great way to meet people with the same interests.”