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WIC: James River Equipment's Destiny Johnson's — Determination to Be Best

Mon July 08, 2024 - Southeast Edition #14
Eric Olson - CEG CONTRIBUTING EDITOR


Throughout her seven-year career working in the business, the past two with the Charlotte, N.C., branch of James River Equipment, Destiny Johnson has worked to learn everything there is to know about the machines she handles as an outside rental representative for the dealership.
CEG photo
Throughout her seven-year career working in the business, the past two with the Charlotte, N.C., branch of James River Equipment, Destiny Johnson has worked to learn everything there is to know about the machines she handles as an outside rental representative for the dealership.

Like any other successful young person in the construction equipment distribution industry, Destiny Johnson is making her mark via a single-minded determination to be the best at her job.

Throughout her seven-year career working in the business, the past two with the Charlotte, N.C., branch of James River Equipment, Johnson has worked to learn everything there is to know about the machines she handles as an outside rental representative for the dealership.

As a result, she has put to rest the outmoded assumption that one must be a man to be knowledgeable about construction equipment, which, for most of its history has been a male-dominated industry.

In Johnson's case, by combining a hard-charging work ethic with a friendly, enthusiastic personality and an inherent love for the equipment business, she has emphatically refuted that notion. Of course, any man who wants to be a success in the same job also would need to possess the same attributes as Johnson.

When asked whether she faced any skepticism over being a female in her line of work, Johnson was unequivocal.

"I absolutely did," she said. "At first, I had a lot of men push back who wondered if I knew exactly what I was doing because I was a woman, and it was just great to show them that I could do what they were doing and knew what I was talking about. It was surprising to them and actually shocked a lot of people."

Johnson recalled one day in particular when a couple of male customers walked into the James River Equipment dealership to ask questions about its machinery.

"Some of the other people I was working with weren't sure how to reply, so they had to ask me because I knew the answers," she said. "The guys asking the questions had walked straight past me to go speak to my male colleagues who had a little bit less experience with the equipment than me."

Johnson attributes much of her success in overcoming the stereotype to the management at James River, which has actively sought qualified women for its sales roles.

"James River has been absolutely wonderful," she said. "Before they met with me, I felt like it wasn't going to be great because I was a woman, but our managers are so open minded and so welcoming. They had no issues with my gender and were excited at having a woman being a part of their sales team."

Today, Johnson's rental territory for the dealership extends from Charlotte north through Mooresville, Statesville and on up to Wilkesboro, as well as west into the Hickory area.

James River, of course, is noted for carrying the full line of John Deere construction machinery, including full-size heavy pieces and compact equipment, at its more than two dozen construction dealerships across the Carolinas and Virginia.

A native of West Palm Beach, Fla., Johnson was drawn to the equipment industry due to having family members in the business her entire life.

"I just really enjoyed learning about all the machines and being around all the people and getting to know them," she said.

Johnson began her career at another rental company in the Charlotte area and enjoyed the experience, she said, but came to James River after deciding to look for a new and better opportunity.

Two things she quickly learned upon arriving at James River were how well the John Deere product line is engineered and the elevated level of service and support those machines receive from both the manufacturer and James River.

"I think John Deere products and service are just above and beyond everything else," Johnson said.

She is thrilled with not only how the move has worked out for her, but also the growing respect she has received from her James River customers.

Once word spread about Johnson's upbeat personality and how well prepared she is when customers come to her, old stereotypes began to melt away.

"Oh yeah, it has been wonderful," she said. "I have grown a lot of great relationships with many different customers. Often, they call me and just ask how my day is going, or they are looking for equipment pricing, and it is a nice, friendly conversation. Luckily, they are always happy to talk with me.

"James River is a great company to work for and I am really fortunate to have had the opportunity to be here," she added. "I enjoy what I do every single day and, as long as you are having fun while you are at work, that is all that matters — it's almost as if you're not really working." CEG


Eric Olson

A writer and contributing editor for CEG since 2008, Eric Olson has worked in the business for more than 40 years.

Olson grew up in the small town of Lenoir, NC in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he began covering sports for the local newspaper at age 18. He continued to do that for several other dailies in the area while in college at Appalachian State University. Following his graduation, he moved on to gain experience at two other publications before becoming a real estate and special features writer and editor at the Winston-Salem Journal for 10 years. Since 1999 he has worked as a corporate media liaison and freelance writer, in addition to his time at CEG.

He and his wife, Tara, have been married for 33 years and are the parents of two grown and successful daughters. His hobbies include collecting history books, watching his beloved Green Bay Packers and caring for his three dogs and one cat.


Read more from Eric Olson here.





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