More than 100 toy tractors?
"Even some adults don’t grow up completely"
Kansas agent Tim Engle’s love for tractors has followed him from childhood to his agency. He has more than 100 toy tractors lining the walls, capturing the attention of customers and prospects.
There are a lot of words that describe Manhattan, Kansas agent Tim Engle.
Committed: His 30-year anniversary with American Family is in May.
Family-man: His wife, Sherri, has worked in the agency for 18 years, along with his daughter, Bri, who has worked in the agency since high school. His college-bound son, Dalton, also has shown interest.
Humble: “It’s humbling that thousands of customers trust us with their most valuable assets,” says Tim. “To know we’re here to help pick up the pieces after tragedy is an honor.”
There is another word that describes – or rather, described – Tim. However, it’s not one you’d find in a dictionary (Urban Dictionary included).
“Tractor envy.” It’s a term Tim coined while growing up on a dairy farm in Kansas.
“Cows were the main focus on our farm,” says Tim. “My dad would spend lots of money on cows, but not so much on farming equipment. So when I would see my neighbors in their nice, air-conditioned tractor cabs while I was sweating like crazy on mine, I developed a little tractor envy.”
Now, it’s Tim’s customers who often have tractor envy. More than 100 toy tractors – some expensive collectibles – line the walls of Tim’s office. “Most of them come from toy tractor shows,” says Tim. “I got my first one or two, and it just took off from there.
Very few have been purchased online. I got a call from a customer once, and he told me to come out to a garage sale to check out a box of old toys. I made my way out there to check it out, and ended up buying the whole box.”
Tim’s agency has a rustic feel, and he says customers – and even non-customers – love looking at the tractors. “I guess you could say it’s a bit of a marketing tactic,” says Tim. “My customers love looking at them – the tracors make them reminisce on their farming days. We also have people who aren’t even customers come in to look, and that leads to conversations.”
And while Tim’s office is filled with tractors, his staff’s work spaces are filled with other things – things that are important to them. Everyone in the agency is encouraged to decorate with what describes their dreams and passions.
His daughter, Bri, is passionate about travel and has a map displayed, showing where she’s been and where she hopes to go. Tim’s wife, Sherri, also has photos of her kids – she’s passionate about helping them achieve their dreams. Lisa Buckley is an avid Kansas State University fan, and has KSU photos displayed, along with photos of her family farm. Kristi Kirkman achieved one of her dreams when she bowled a perfect 300, and has a trophy on display. Amber Griffin has several sayings about family alongside photos of her kids.
For Tim, it’s his tractors.
“I defend them to my wife as art,” jokes Tim. “And I tell a lot of the kids who come into the office, contrary to popular belief, even some adults don’t grow up completely.”