RDO On Tour exposes Moorhead students to wide range of careers in ag, construction, trucking industries

Moorhead Career Academy event by R.D. Offutt Co. showcases opportunities "in an industry that is never going away."

Moorhead High School students look over a piece of heavy equipment during the RDO On Tour career expo at Moorhead Career Academy on Thursday, April 28, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
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MOORHEAD — Wheel loaders, air seeders, tractors and other pieces of equipment filled Moorhead Career Academy on Thursday, April 28, as part of the inaugural RDO On Tour.

The event, put together by R.D. Offutt Co., gave 600 Moorhead High School students a look at a wide range of career opportunities in the agriculture, construction and trucking industries.

“The place is full inside and out with equipment. They really went big,” said Brenda Richman, a spokeswoman for Moorhead Area Public Schools.

About 30 experts from RDO Equipment, RDO Truck Centers, and R.D. Offutt Farms gave presentations and answered students’ questions about “the amazing careers out there,” Richman said.

“They have all kinds of technical careers, but they also have all kinds of support staff as well, anything from marketing professionals, data analysis, as well as all the service technicians,” she said. “The variety of careers that they are exposed to on a day like today is really, really incredible.”


Andy Luikens, recruiting program manager for R.D. Offutt Co., said the event’s goal is to create a conversation about careers.

“We want to make sure that young people understand all of the weath of opportunity within the Fargo-Moorhead area (and) beyond that. And ultimately consider a career in agriculture, construction, farming, food products,” Luikens said.

Dale Secker from RDO Equipment chats with students Logan Gedde, Sam Case and Chrstian Larson as they look over equipment at the Moorhead Career Academy on Thursday, April 28, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

He said people may drive by the corporation’s field office in downtown Fargo, or one of the company's dealerships in Moorhead or elsewhere in the region, but they don’t go in the door.

“There’s not a knowledge base for the wealth of choice that someone has, from IT professionals, to communications, marketing people to accountants, technicians, or the technology team that’s flying drones and doing construction mapping, precision ag mapping — all that kind of stuff. We want to make sure students understand those opportunities,” Luikens said.

RDO needs diesel mechanics, but they need people with a lot of other skills to succeed, too, he said.

RDO account manager Brian Nettestad talks with students about careers with the company at the Moorhead Career Academy on Thursday, April 28, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

“We’ll obviously support any student who wants to be a diesel mechanic or a diesel service technician for RDO. Those are the very in-demand professions. But the support teams at the field support office or our agronomy teams and field scouts at R.D. Offutt Farms, those positions are equally important, and it allows the students to find an opportunity in an industry that is never going away,” Luikens said.

“We’re not stopping farming; we’re only farming more. We’re not going to stop construction, we’re not going to stop being on the road with trucks, and so RDO really taps all those buckets, and you have a wealth of potential,” Luikens said.

“If anything, the world has taught us that these industries are more important today than they ever have been,” he said. “We’re excited to be able to say, ‘Hey, even if you’ve never grown up on a farm, but you want to be in a really cool industry and be an accountant, you can be a farm accountant, you can be a financial planning person for the equipment company.’ Those positions all exist. We don’t just talk about turning wrenches.”


Luikens said the feedback from students was “absolutely awesome.”

“Students are engaged. They're talking with the team. They’re asking valuable questions (such as) ‘What does this do? How does this impact my future? Where do I go to school?’,” he said. “We feel like it’s been all aces in our book.”

Richman said the Career Academy, at 2800 27th Ave. S., makes it possible to hold such events and showcase opportunities in ways not previously available.

“It’s a win for not only our students, but our community as well,” Richman said.

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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