Senior Account Manager Juan Sotelo recently retired from Kondex Corporation after nearly 35 years of service. Sotelo joined the Company in July 1989, and worked in the manufacturing plant for the first three years of his career. His early roles included working on the sickle assembly line, in shipping and receiving, and assisting maintenance with CAD drawings of tooling for sickle sections. In 1992, he was invited to join then-president Jim Wessing on a trip to Argentina to help with Spanish translation for a product meeting. This was the start of his new role as Export Manager, which he held from 1992 to 2001. When he first took this position, Kondex had only a small number of international clients, and Sotelo was tasked with preparing an international plan and growing our export business. In his nearly 35 years with Kondex, Sotelo has traveled to 6 continents (missing only Antarctica) and approximately 25 countries! In his tenure, Kondex grew its international business as a direct supplier to companies on 6 continents and in 19 countries. 

Juan (left) is congratulated by past president Jim Wessing
after sharing stories of various travels and customer visits

From 2002 to 2012, Sotelo held the title of Account Manager and was promoted to his latest role of Senior Account Manager in 2012. At one point in his career, he had managed nearly every OEM account Kondex held. His largest account (and longest customer) was John Deere, which he oversaw for more than 15 years.

Juan holds the many John Deere Achieving Excellence awards
that Kondex earned while he oversaw this account
(Photo taken in January 2017)

In addition to agricultural sales accounts, Sotelo was responsible for growing Kondex’s Lawn and Turf Department to what it is today. He began managing these accounts in 2007, and was instrumental in developing and growing this business for Kondex. Through his efforts, Kondex became an aerator tine supplier to all the major OEMs. This growth prompted various automation and process improvements, along with the manufacturing of other lawn and turf product lines.  

“I’d like to thank Juan for dedicating nearly 35 years to Kondex with unwavering commitment,” commented Director of Sales Jake Gross. “Although I haven’t worked with Juan for a long time, it’s clear that he’s built lasting relationships and has a knack for finding opportunities that have significantly contributed to Kondex’s growth and success. His legacy will undoubtedly continue to influence Kondex and our customers long after his retirement. We wish you a fulfilling and relaxing retirement, knowing that you have left an indelible mark on this organization.”

Juan poses with Director of Sales Jake Gross (right) at his retirement celebration

Sotelo has a long list of retirement plans. One project he’s excited to start is a three-year landscaping plan at his home. He’s also eager to assist his daughters Heather and Talina in training and preparing his grandchildren for go-kart racing, as he did with his girls over 25 years ago. He also plans to travel more, including he and his wife Barb traveling to Mexico during the winters to spend time with his son and daughter-in-law. Here he’ll also help them with various home projects while reacquainting themselves with Mexico. 

Juan celebrates with his wife Barb at his retirement luncheon

“I took a lot of pride in presenting Kondex to customers and explaining how we can help increase their sales. Many of these customers have become friends over the years, and I’m going to miss our interactions,” Sotelo commented. “I’m thankful for the teachings and support I received from Jim Wessing and Keith after him. After nearly 35 years at Kondex and about 32 in sales, I have enough memories to write a book.”

“I have spent a great deal of time with Juan on the road, both domestically and internationally,” commented President Keith Johnson. “His passion for the customer is unmatched and the depth of his connections, especially around the globe, is endless. His insights into the industry and passion for Kondex will be sorely missed. I wish Juan the best in his retirement, and he should expect his phone to ring from time to time for advice.

Kondex President Keith Johnson (left) congratulates
Juan on his well-earned retirement