Farm Toy Updates and Team Introductions!
by Bill Walters
Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Even though February is a short month it sure seems long. It’s been a cold and snowy month, but hopefully warmer weather is finally on its way. My goal is to work harder so I forget about the weather. In my last blog I mentioned that we would start introducing other members of our team. This month we introduce two of our engineers. Pat Wessels has been working on farm toys for over 40 years, while Garrett Trilk is one of our newest employees who just started in 2020. We asked them to write a little bit about themselves. Here are their stories…..
My name is Pat Wessels. I am senior brand manager for OEM agricultural product. I work primarily on the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) replica product lines. I have been with the company since 1978. I grew up on a family farm northeast of Dyersville. My dad had a herd of Holstein dairy cattle and raised hogs. My mom had chickens and the egg money that went with it. The family farm always seemed overrun with various dogs and lots of cats.
I learned how to drive on a Massey Harris 33 tractor with no power steering, typically driving on the hay baler. Over the years dad bought an IH 460 with power steering, then a 656, two 856 tractors. All of the tractors were open station. After several years both of the 856’s were topped with aftermarket cabs—what a treat!
There was nothing better than spring time: disking corn stocks and plowing fields on the farm. You could look out at the end of the day and say, “I got this done.” The very best part was getting out of school for spring field work. On the other hand, there is nothing worse than shoveling oats in the wagon to get a full load. It was great to use the garden hose to clean up a bit before taking a shower.
I joined ERTL after I met my future wife one night at her brother’s birthday party. One thing led to another, and I moved back to Dyersville from Cedar Rapids. We got engaged, then married, and now we have three kids, an angel, and seven grand kids. This year we will celebrate 41 years of marriage. Time flies!
I started out in New Product Development as a design draftsman on the board drawing with pencil and paper. Some of the younger ones on Bill’s team often ask if I if I used a hammer, chisel, or other ‘caveman’ tools in my early days at ERTL. I will admit that to some of the team members I can be their father or even their grandfather.
Over the years I moved up from design draftsman to design manager, then to director of offshore product development, and now senior brand manager. I have worked on all of the companies various product lines over the years including farm, construction, trucks, cars, aircraft, semis, movie vehicles and figures.
When I’m not at work I enjoy reading, traveling, and watching sci-fi movies and documentaries. I have always enjoyed traveling to new places and checking out the local food. In my younger years, my wife and I played various sports. Now my free time is spent playing golf and going to the grandkids’ sporting and school activities.
If you’ve been to the Farm Toy Shows in Dyersville, Iowa you’ve probably seen me in the ERTL Product Show Room. I am the one with the name tag “I am Pat Not Bill” If you haven’t been to the show yet, I encourage you to stop by and we can chat!
Now let’s pass the keyboard over to Garrett!
My name is Garrett Trilk and I am an associate product manager for the OEM agricultural products. My job at TOMY is to assist Pat Wessels with the endeavor of developing OEM replica products for the agricultural side of the business. In the spring of 2019 I graduated from Iowa State University College of Design with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design with a primary focus on furniture product design. Prior to being welcomed by the TOMY family in Dyersville, my family and I developed a custom fabrication business.
The business became a point of focus for my father and me years ago. We started out building custom skateboards in our family’s shop out in the woods of rural Iowa. Anyone who knows my family knows our way has always been to build our own fun. In the past we’ve built boats, bikes, racing motorcycles, off-road toys, vintage vehicles, and even homes. We recently decided to grab another gear and manufacture metal furniture.
My fiancée (Alesha), our full-size golden-doodle (Garth), and I relish outdoor activities including boating, skiing, off-roading, gardening, and camping trips. On our recent ski trip to Colorado, I asked if she was interested in becoming my travel partner for life. Thankfully she agreed to marry my quirky self! Garth thoroughly enjoys a sunny boat cruise on the Mississippi River almost as much as a windowless car ride with his pals. When these sought after days become unattainable during the winter months, he prefers to abide with the cold weather and endure snow sport activities alongside Alesha and me.
Constantly learning that life will always be full of curve balls, I have the joys of learning a new career path in the field of ag replica production. As everyone reading this has come to know, this past year has been a roller coaster of events. Since my addition to the TOMY family back in March of 2020, I had a total of five days learning the responsibilities of a new job while working in the office. On my 6th day we all began working from home. Boy has this been an eventful experience so far!
Thanks to all who have welcomed me with open arms, to those of you who continue to inspire, and to those who I have yet to experience the delight of meeting. I look forward to continuing my career as part of TOMY International.
Garrett T. Trilk
Now back to farm toys!
We’ve been busy working on some new items for 2021. First is a new AGCO set. This 1:64th set includes a Massey Ferguson 8280 tractor, 2270XD large square baler, WR9870 SP Windrower and a hay rake. (Stock # 16421) This item will be available at AGCO dealerships later in March.
I’m also working on a 1:64th Allis Chalmers 7045 tractor along with a new 1:64th Co-op Implements Panther II tractor. I’ll provide information on both of these later in the year.
Our Britains division also has some special tractors they’re producing. One in particular is to celebrate their 100th anniversary of farm toys. They are producing a limited edition 1:32nd scale Ford Fordson tractor that replicates the first Britains tractor. (Stock # 43293) Here’s an image of the original toy from 1948. I can’t wait to see the “new/old” version of this.
We’re also happy to announce that we’re working on our first 1:64th Claas item. You should be seeing an announcement shortly. We’re teaming up with the National Farm Toy Museum on this first model. More to come. The NFTM also introduced their next model which is a 1:32nd IH 4786 tractor. We modeled this unit with the later paint scheme that features the red cab and hood sides with the black stripe. Other updates include a new curved exhaust. This item will be available in the summer of 2021. (Stock # 44253OTP)
Stay safe and warmJ
Until next time,