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posted: 8/19/2013 5:30 AM

Max Armstrong gives tractor enthusiasts their own app

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  • Max Armstrong of Naperville, longtime agricultural broadcaster on WGN Radio and on satellite TV, stands in front of his Farmall 560 tractor made in 1962 by International Harvester.

      Max Armstrong of Naperville, longtime agricultural broadcaster on WGN Radio and on satellite TV, stands in front of his Farmall 560 tractor made in 1962 by International Harvester.
    COURTESY OF MAX ARMSTRONG

  • Max Armstrong of Naperville, longtime agricultural broadcaster on WGN Radio and on satellite TV, stands in front of his Farmall 560 tractor made in 1962 by International Harvester.

      Max Armstrong of Naperville, longtime agricultural broadcaster on WGN Radio and on satellite TV, stands in front of his Farmall 560 tractor made in 1962 by International Harvester.
    COURTESY OF MAX ARMSTRONG

  • Gregory Wasson

      Gregory Wasson

  • Joan Suzio

      Joan Suzio

  • Greg Lehner

      Greg Lehner

  • Shane Beard

      Shane Beard

  • Jeffrey Humm

      Jeffrey Humm

  • Robert Friedberg

      Robert Friedberg

  • Michael Curran

      Michael Curran

  • Bradley Despot

      Bradley Despot

 
 

Fans likely are familiar with Max Armstrong as he co-hosts "This Week In AgriBusiness" on RFD-TV. He also helps host a weekly hourlong agriculture program on WGN Radio.

And the Naperville resident, who is also director of broadcasting for Penton/Farm Progress Companies, has a new free app, simply named "Max Armstrong's Tractor App" on iTunes and Google Play.

The app gives vintage tractor enthusiasts everything they enjoy about the classic iron, including stories, quizzes and other features. Whether tractors are used to work the fields or just sit along the fence, hearkening another day, they have garnered the same enthusiasm among the agriculture set as classic cars, he said.

"The tractor is such an important part of the passion with people in agriculture," Armstrong said. "Farmers just love the old ones."

About a year ago, Armstrong developed the idea and then worked with St. Charles-based Martinez Creative Group.

Besides the app, Armstrong's voice is even part of downloadable ringtones. And he's done a video called "Tractor Boy."

"I don't think it hurts to have some fun in this magnificent industry that feeds us all," Armstrong said.

Armstrong said he also wants to honor farmers for their hard labor in the fields, their innovative use of new technology to tend to their thief fields, and the sheer volume of food they produce to feed the world.

Armstrong knows from personal experience what farmers do, since he grew up on a farm in Indiana. He also owns three classic International Harvester tractors, which are stored on properties owned by friends in DeKalb and Champaign.

"Tractors can come in a rainbow of colors and look absolutely beautiful in the sunshine," he said.

Armstrong also belongs to Good Old Toys Club, a group of farm boys from around Naperville who collect and admire tractors. They take some kindhearted kidding about their prized tractors or just share stories. Most of all, they pay homage to farmers who face many challenges these days, including lower prices on commodities, higher cost of insurance and seeds, and export challenges to foreign countries.

"Tractors have brought us all together, but it's the people who keep us coming back," he said.

Dixon leads massive dances

Cathy Dixon, artistic director and founder of Dixon Dance Academy in West Dundee, said the academy produced four recitals to accommodate its 500 students and their families at the Blizzard Theatre at Elgin Community College and at the Hemmens Auditorium in Elgin. Looking ahead, in July 2014, the dance teams will perform onstage at downtown Disney World.

Helping to clean up the Fox

George Stenitzer, a spokesman for Naperville-based Tellabs Inc. and a longtime kayaker, led more than 20 other kayakers and canoeists during an annual cleanup of the Fox River, from Montgomery to Oswego, over the weekend. Oswego Mayor Brian LeClerq also led some walkers from Violet Patch Park along the shore for the cleanup as well.

Seniors help Army training

Jay Lewkowitz, executive director of Oakton Place said the U.S. Army held a couple of required training classes for recruitment center personnel at Oakton Arms, a senior living facility in Des Plaines. It was difficult finding a location in the North and Northwest Suburbs to host these training classes. Oakton Place includes Oakton Pavillion, a newly remodeled short-term rehabilitation and nursing facility, and Oakton Arms, an independent living building nearby.

FastTrack

Vicki Rae Thorne, founder of Earth Heart Inc. in Sleepy Hollow, has been named a finalist in the Women in the Pet Industry Woman of the Year Award competition. Thorne was nominated in the Solopreneur category. She and 24 others will now compete within the categories, and later, for Woman of the Year. ... Ted Gaty is the new senior vice president of product development at Paylocity Corp., a payroll provider based in Arlington Heights. ... Rich Termondt is founder and CEO of the just launched Geneva-based Solutiosoft LLC, a software development company focusing on the latest web, mobile and cloud technologies.

Design professional Joan Suzio, owner of the Decorating Den Interiors franchise in Libertyville is marking 25 years as a franchisee with this interior design and home furnishings franchise company.

Deerfield-based Walgreens President and CEO Gregory Wasson and the company's President of e-commerce Sona Chawla will be keynoters at the Shop.org Annual Summit, on Sept. 30 -Oct. 2. The event will host more than 4,000 retail, e-commerce and multichannel executives, at the McCormick Place in Chicago. The Summit brings together industry experts, retailers and their business partners to network, discuss and learn about top trends in digital retailing. ... Speaking of Walgreens, Alex Gourlay, chief executive of the Health & Beauty Division for Alliance Boots, has been appointed as Walgreens executive vice president and president of customer experience and daily living, starting Oct. 1. In October 2012, Walgreens and Alliance Boots established a jointly owned company, called Walgreens Boots Alliance Development GmbH, based in Bern, Switzerland.

Greg Lehner of Carpentersville, along with Mike Embrey, Rena Prizant and Matt Cermak, each of Chicago are new hires at Fusion92 in Arlington Heights. They join Matthew Mathias, the campaign and analytics manager. ... Speaking of expansions, Shane Beard, owner of FastSigns in Naperville and Wheaton, said he's aiming to hire four more workers.

Condolences to the family of Don Layne, a former educator and member of the Addison Chamber of Commerce & Industry from the time he began to serve as director in 1995. He was president in 1997 and 1998, and immediate past president in 1999 and 2000. He returned as director in 2001 and in 2009 was elected as treasurer, an office which he held until his passing. ... and Bill Henningsgaard, a past member of Downers Grove-based CompTIA board of directors is being mourned by the Downers Grove tech association after the former Microsoft executive and his son, Maxwell, were killed Aug. 9 when their private plane crashed into a home in East Haven, Conn.

Rawly Lantz and Tony Russo of Cawley Chicago Commercial Real Estate in Downers Grove worked with Adams LaSalle Realty and Mike and John Gazzola of Entre Commercial Realty as they represented The Sidwell Co. in a long-term office lease at The St. Charles Executive Center. ... Jeffrey A. Humm of Elburn is the new senior project technician at Engineering Enterprises Inc. in Sugar Grove. He retired from the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District as its engineering supervisor.

Delnor Hospital President Robert Friedberg said the Geneva hospital has been named once again to the Magnet Recognition Program by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in recognition of its patient care, nursing and innovations in professional nursing practices. ... Jim Rice has been named vice president of operations for Jewel-Osco in Itasca. Rice will lead the operations team to support Jewel-Osco's new strategies in marketing and merchandising.

Commercial real estate brokers Michael Curran of Chicago and Brad Despot of Aurora have become principals at Avison Young in Chicago. ... Tom Christopher, president and chief operating officer of the Follett Higher Education Group for River Grove-based Follett Corp., will retire on Aug. 30 and will be replaced by Don Germano, former senior vice president of operations for Dick's Sporting Goods. ... Jack Stewart was recognized at a Northwest Community Credit Union board of directors' Meeting for having served over three decades on the credit union's board. "That's longer than many credit unions have been in business," said Jose Garcia, president and CEO of Morton Grove-based Northwest Community.

•There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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