All staff can be reached by phone at 314.878.2304.
Vernon Schmidt, Executive Vice President
Vernon started with the Association as Director of Membership Services in 1995. He has also served as Convention Manager and Director of State Legislative Affairs and continues to work with lobbyists to ensure our members' voice is heard in state capitals.
In early 2009, the Board of Directors announced that Vernon would become Executive Vice President upon Bob Schnell's retirement in late 2009. On November 9, 2009, the office opened with its first new leader in over a quarter of a century and only the third Executive Vice President in the Association's history.
In addition to managing the Association, Vernon has served as President of the Association's Services Corporation since his election by the Board of Directors on November 6, 2009.
Kristi Ruggles, Director of Communications
Kristi@FarmEquip.org | Direct Phone: 314.414.1007
Kristi joined the Association in March 2015. Her second day on the job, she flew to Charlotte, N.C., for Spring Conference. It was an intense orientation.
Back in St. Louis, Kristi settled into her role as editor of Ag Innovator and Shortliner. She also helps develop messages for members and contributes to the creation of the Association's Membership Directory & Product Index.
She began her career as a newspaper reporter, then expanded her work to include communications strategy, publications management, media relations, digital communications and fundraising writing.
Andrea Schnelten, Director of Meetings and Membership Services
Andrea@FarmEquip.org | Direct Phone 314.414.1700
The Association welcomed Andrea Schnelten to its office team in the summer of 2016 as Director of Meetings and Member Services.
Schnelten brings more than a decade of experience in planning events and serving members for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She also manages a family farm in Rockbridge, Ill.
“One of my goals is to be sure that members understand the many ways the Association helps them work more efficiently and effectively,” Schnelten said. “And, of course, I want to make each conference and convention the perfect opportunity to learn, network, and grow business.”
Tricia Kidd, Accounting and Meeting Services
When members contact the Association office by phone, chances are Tricia's pleasant greeting will be the voice you hear. Some of her daily duties include all of our accounting functions, maintaining membership records and being ready to direct members to any and all of the many services the Association offers.
If you have attended one of our conventions since 1999 the smiling face behind the registration desk was likely Tricia. From entering your meeting registration to dealing directly with hotels on our rooming lists, she does a great job of making sure our meetings run well and that have the sleeping room for the nights you request.
In addition to our professional staff, the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association offers—at no charge—expert legal advice on Human Resource and Dealer Contract issues through attorneys who specialize in these important areas.
That's right, the association will pay for a one-hour call per issue to one of our attorneys on either of these topics.
Of course there are limits, just give us a call in the association office and we will be glad to go over the details with you. These calls are totally confidential between you and the attorney. The only information provided to the association is the number of members who called and in the case of dealer contracts, which state's laws were discussed.
Our members often get all the advice they need in the first hour.