Alumni Spotlight: John Reid

John Reid ’87 enjoyed the atmosphere of the department while working on his Ph.D. The current Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department Head, Dr. Stephen Searcy, helped in bringing Reid to Texas A&M. Reid is now the Director of Product Technology and Innovation at John Deere.

What degrees have you obtained from Texas A&M University?

John: PhD in Agricultural Engineering, 1987.

What drew you to Texas A&M University?

John Reid ’87

John: The University and the department was building a national reputation in the early 1980s. The primary reason I came to Texas A&M University was that there was a young professor, Dr. Stephen Searcy, who was working in electronics in agriculture. It seemed like the best place for me to pursue my interest in automation technologies.

What was your time like at Texas A&M University and the department?

John: It is kind of cliché, but it was the best time of my life. The department had a large population of graduate students from around the country and around the world. We all bonded and had a great time at work and at play. My research area morphed to machine vision and artificial intelligence and I was basically able to work with others to build it from the ground up. Dr. Edward Hiler had hired and developed a great faculty team that was incredible to work with.

What are you doing now?

John: I am the Director of Product Technology and Innovation at John Deere. I have been in this role since 2006. More recently, I have taken on the role of Enterprise Lead in Automation to Autonomy (A2A). I have to opportunity to be involved with our delivery of some amazing technology-based solutions and to work with others in the organizational capabilities we will need to deliver highly-automated solutions. I have also had the opportunity to work on the challenges for innovation and business transformation in industry. This year, I am the Chairman of the Innovation Research Interchange ( where companies interact professionally to share best-practices and develop next-practices in innovation management.

What are some of your hobbies or activities?

John: I have many things I like to do…reading, playing guitar, golfing, snow and water skiing, hiking in the mountains, boating, and gardening. I pretty much always stay busy. More recently, spending time with our grandchildren has become our passion and we love all of our activities with family.

Is there anything else that is unique about you that you want to share?

John: My grandparents lived on a small farm in Virginia with corn, grains, hay and dairy cattle. I developed my passion for agriculture at a young age. I decided to be an agricultural engineer when I was in 7th grade based on reading college manuals in the public library. I never turned back. It turns out my grandfather was also part of a small rural telephone company and in my time at the farm, I got to tag along with him and work with electronics and telecommunication technology from about age 8 on. I am sure these items combined to shape who I am. I am also an Eagle Scout.


Article by Jessica Schaeffer

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