Joseph (Joe) Andrew MacDonald grew up with 15 brothers and sisters on a farm in Truro, Nova Scotia.
After crewing on a Lancaster bomber during World War II, MacDonald started his lifelong farm equipment career in 1947 at the Cockshutt Plow Company, working his way up from the parts department to Canadian sales manager. When White Farm Equipment Canada purchased Cockshutt, MacDonald was made vice-president of marketing and, later, president.
Known for his business acumen, Joe would often fly out on Monday, make his way through five or six cities across the U.S. and Canada, then return home Sunday evening only to get up and do it all over again the next week. In those days, long distance calls were only made in emergencies, so much is to be said for the MacDonald marriage with Joe gone all week and Anne smoothly managing the house with four boisterous boys: Scott, Allan, Gary and John.
In 1972, Joe became familiar with a small Winnipeg equipment manufacturer named Killbery Industries Ltd. The Killbery brothers, Tom and Bill, enticed Joe to Winnipeg to help revive their family’s swather manufacturing business located near the Winnipeg airport. Later that same year, and looking for a more stable life, Joe would buy the company and rename it MacDon Industries Ltd.
In the mid 1980’s under Joe’s leadership, MacDon developed the first dual application draper header for use on windrowers and most brands of combines, thereby allowing producers more flexibility and harvesting capacity. It was considered a revolution from which people around the world continue to benefit today.
MacDonald’s brilliant mind for sales and marketing resulted in him creating an innovative dual distribution system, which allowed for the sale of MacDon products to OEMs under their brand, while also selling similar products directly to independent dealers under the MacDon brand.
In its infancy, the company used the tagline “The Quiet Leader.” But those who worked with and for him knew that the company’s description was befitting of the man, himself. Joe was known for his adept way of dealing with people, a true champion of the agriculture industry and trusted implicitly for his handshake deals. True to his word, he would often drive employees to work or pick them up from bus stop and take them home. A true gentleman to employees and associates alike.
Joe was posthumously inducted into the Association of Equipment Manufacturers in 2015 where, to date, only 62 people in the world have been included. In addition, Joe was honored as “One of the 100 Most Significant Contributors to Ag and Construction Mechanization” by the Equipment Manufacturers Institute and was also inducted into the Manitoba Manufacturers Hall of Fame.