Twenty years of green hospitality
For 21 years, Ann Quist served as an administrative assistant at Deere & Co. As she was signing her separation papers, a request came – please consider being part of the crew to help open the John Deere Pavilion, a visitor center in Moline. The year was 1997.
“Let me retire first. I’ll think about it,” was her response.
She decided to say yes, and 20 years later, Ann is one of two staff members of the original group who remain.
“I enjoy doing it. It is just really fun. You meet so many people. They come from all over the world. One of the big draws is that we never charge. It’s free,” she said.
The pavilion is an interactive kind of place. Crawl on up into the machines. Explore the history of Deere, such as the first tractors ever built, and some of the first advertisements, too. Experience state-of-the-art simulators. Engage with hands-on activities for kids. Ann’s job is to greet visitors and offer an overview to get them started. People of all ages come to visit, from school groups to senior citizen bus tours.
The most popular attraction is the combine, Ann said. It’s the largest piece of equipment on display. A loader made at the Davenport Works is also a popular attraction – Ann and her colleagues take lots of pictures of people who gather up in the big scoop in the front. “We can get a dozen kids in there.”
The pavilion also hosts special events throughout the year. In April for example, a duck hatching will take place from Thursday, April 13, through Saturday, April 15 – just in time for Easter.
“I really love meeting the people who come to visit,” Ann said. “They are excited to be here, and they love what they see. I have made some really close friends working there.”