Precision farming can make a difficult job far quicker and less stressful – and the latest addition to the Vantage support team can certainly testify to that.
Paul Knights – who has a long and varied career in electrical and mechanical communications – has been appointed the new area sales manager for Norfolk and Suffolk, acting as the first point of contact for farmers using Trimble precision farming technology.
“After I got the job I had a test drive using Trimble GPS on my friend’s farm in Kent,” says Mr Knights. “I hadn’t sat in a tractor for some time, but within minutes I was able to use a 9.3m roller with pinpoint precision. I rolled a 50ha field, and it looked like perfectly corrugated cardboard – and I still felt as fresh as a daisy afterwards. If I hadn’t had the precision kit I would have been a gibbering mess trying to achieve that level of accuracy by myself. It’s just phenomenal.”
Mr Knights started his career in the Army’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers corps, before later moving into telecommunications engineering. “I also worked on sheep stations in Australia and cattle farms in New Zealand – I love their ‘can-do’ attitude.”
As a project field engineer with Nokia, he was piloted in to manage the most complex and remote mobile installations in Europe. “About 70% of the sites were very rural, so I was dealing with farmers and landowners and helping to solve their problems. The countryside is my passion and I think it’s vital to communicate effectively and treat the land with respect – and I bring that professionalism with me to my new role.”
A father of three boys, living in rural Norfolk, Mr Knights knows how important it is to fit in around farmers’ busy lifestyles. “I passionately believe in building a good rapport and maintaining a high level of support for the customer. Good communication is just common courtesy.”
Having trialled the Trimble technology himself, Mr Knights is more convinced than ever about the benefits it can bring to farmers. “Farmers are wanting to save time and effort, and become more profit orientated. I’m looking forward to making a positive impact, marketing and assisting with something which I know works and is the Rolls Royce of guidance systems. That makes the job so much easier and allows your conscience to say: ‘I’ve done something good today’.”
Richard Larke, the current sales manager for East Anglia, is becoming Vantage’s Trimble Agricultural Business Software sales manager with a focus on connecting farm information to help deliver more informed decisions. He will remain the sales manager for Cambridgeshire.
Mark Griffiths, national sales manager at Vantage England and Wales, says the addition of Mr Knight to the team will help the firm to become the best in the country for providing joined-up solutions for British agriculture. “Paul comes from a strong background in telecommunications; with all equipment becoming more connected it is important for us to have expertise in this area. Paul’s roots in the rural community and his experience of coordinating projects across challenging terrain will strengthen Vantage, where delivering solutions for our customers is our number one priority.”