Diane Benck of West Side Tractor Sales Co
Diane Benck is 1/3 owner and serves as the General Manager of West Side Tractor Sales Co. and RCE Equipment Solutions. West Side is the John Deere construction equipment dealer in Illinois and Indiana with 11 locations and provides new equipment, rental, parts, service and GPS/technology services to their customers. RCE Equipment Solutions is a specialized manufacture of construction equipment for the RR and Energy sectors. RCE sells throughout North America. In addition, Diane has been very active in their trade organization, Associated Equipment Distributors, which represents approximately 800 members across North America. She served as the 99th and first female Chair of that organization in 2018. Way to go Diane!
Q&A with Diane:
How did you get into the road building industry?
For me, I didn’t choose the construction industry for my career. I choose to be part of the family business and I was determined to not let being female stop me. When I decided to make the family business my career in the late 80’s, my dad said, “This is a man’s business…we’ll give it a try but I have doubts.” I spent my first 10 years proving him wrong. He’s now my biggest advocate. Working with family can sometimes be challenging and stressful but I feel more purpose for my career knowing that my hard work and achievements help to support 3 generations of my family.
What is the favorite thing about your career?
There’s a lot I love about my career but the thing that’s been the most rewarding is changing men’s perception of women in the construction industry. More good, strong role models in our industry will do more than anything else in convincing those in power that women can do the job too.
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an artist. A hobby I plan on returning to in my retirement. I took an art class a few years ago and I was absolutely out of my element and terrified for someone who’s normally very confident. But it was a great growth experience and I realized I have not completely lost my creativity.
What makes you laugh?
My family makes me laugh, especially my younger brother Tom. Life is too short to not be happy. An employee said to me recently that our family was “always laughing”. It’s true and I think using humor is an important skill in business as well.
What an interesting or unique fact about you?
Not everyone knows this but I started my career as an individual and family therapist. It was quite a leap from psychologist to selling tractors! But the listening and empathy skills that I learned through my education have served me well throughout my business career. Sometimes too my group therapy skills come in handy settling disputes between departments and family members.