Ag jobs turn into a career for Kell

Posted March 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm

By Pete Temple, Express Sports/Ag Editor

Sharon Kell didn’t come from a farm background, or seek to work in the agriculture industry.

It just turned out that way. And she enjoyed her work at Scherrman’s Implement in Monticello enough to stay there for 26 years.

“I kept staying in with the same type of people, and it felt comfortable,” Kell said. “Farmers are easy to get along with. They’re generally very friendly on the phone. It was a good relationship with the farmers, the old ones and the young ones.”

Kell started with the company when it was Wears, Inc. in 1987, serving as its accounting department. She started working there after being offered a job by Dan Dailey. She left PCA (what became Farm Credit Services), and went to work for Wears, Inc.

“I remember when I started working for Dan, we had the big, heavy ledgers, and I had to write in all the ins and outs, all the credits and debits,” Kell said.

“Then we went to a computer system, and we’ve had three different computer systems since I’ve been here.”

She graduated from Olin High School, and then took a computer class in Kansas City.

“That was a four-month thing,” Kell said. “We used the big old computers that were down in the basement. That’s how I got started in doing that kind of work.”

From there she started work at Frank Foundries in Davenport in 1965.

“My cousin got me the job there, and it was in the computer room,” she said.

She stayed there until 1967, when she and her husband Bill were married.

Kell eventually took another computer job in Marion, and later came to Monticello to work at PCA. She first worked out of a house on what is now North Business Highway 151, and the company eventually merged with FCS and was located at the current site of Insurance Associates, Inc.

Her jobs have been similar – primarily entering accounting information from farmers into computers. She learned a lot of the skills – such as typing and bookkeeping – in school.

“Accounting was always my big thing back in high school,” Kell said. “I would definitely say learning that stuff in school really helped me proceed in my life, and I guess that is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.

“My sister (Cherol Schoon) was an accountant. I wanted to follow in her footsteps, and that’s what I ended up doing. I think it’s fun seeing the ins and outs.”

The computer systems, however, have changed.

“I don’t always think that the new systems are as good as what some of the old ones are,” she said. “Sometimes they just aren’t very friendly to the employee. That is one of the reasons why I decided to leave. The computer systems and electronic stuff are so much easier for the young people.”

She said her age of 67 was also a factor.

“And, I think I was ready to try something different,” Kell said.

She said she will miss her co-workers, all of whom are male.

“The guys are all so easy to get along with,” Kell said. “They respect me, and I respect them, and we’ve had a great time here. It’s been a complete joy. Scherrman’s is a good company to work for. I think it was all a very good experience. I’ll always have good memories of it.”

She also said she’ll miss working with the farmers she encountered every day.

“Some of those older guys, they’re the most fun,” she said. “They’re just easy-going, they’re fun to talk to, they reminisce, and they have a lot of tales to tell.”

In her first week away from the Scherrman’s office, Kell quickly learned that she couldn’t sit still for long.

“I spent one day home, Monday (March 11), and I thought, ‘Well, I can’t be spending every day at home.’ ” Kell said with a laugh. “I needed to get out and get around people.”

So on Tuesday, she was quilting with church friends. She hopes to pursue other interests as well.

“I love to walk, or read books,” she said. “I’d like to do some traveling. We do gardening at home – I like to work with flowers – so I guess I’ve got a few things that I enjoy doing.”

Sharon and Bill have two children and six grandchildren.

“Brenda lives in Colorado, so I’m sure we’ll be making trips there,” Sharon said. “Curtis is in Cedar Rapids.”