The award will be given to employees of Kenney Machinery who have been with the company at least ten years, consistently achieve their goals while persevering in the face of adversity, and are well-respected by customers, co-workers, and vendors alike. Additionally, all recipients of the Merle Yockey Award must be a previous recipient of the annual Tigger Award, which is given to company employees who demonstrate a high level of energy and enthusiasm.
During a ceremony at the annual company-wide meeting, CEO Mike Kenney spoke about the award’s namesake and first recipient. “Merle Yockey represents excellence in this industry”, Mike said. “Everyone in this room should strive to follow in his footsteps and be like him. We are so fortunate to have him. There’s no one better in the industry.”
Merle’s accomplishments during his nearly four decades of work in the turf equipment industry are evidenced by previous awards he has received, which include the Toro Rookie of the Year award (the oldest winner of that award), the Toro Territory Manager’s Blazer award, the Toro Master Salesmen award (a two-time recipient), and Toro’s first Andrey Rovdner of Excellence award. A veteran of the Korean War, Merle was raised on a dairy farm in Plymouth, Indiana and worked at a farm co-op and farm equipment dealership before coming to work for Kenney Machinery.
“It’s truly an honor to not only receive this award, but also have it named after me”, Merle said after being presented with the award. “I hope it inspires future Kenney Machinery employees to be the best version of themselves that they can possibly be.”
In addition to being recognized on the Merle Yockey Award Plaque displayed at the company headquarters, Merle (as well as future recipients of the award) will get a $1,000 check and three additional days of paid leave during the following year.
Unlike the Kenney Machinery Tigger Award, the Merle Yockey Award will not necessarily be presented annually—it will only be awarded when there is a truly deserving employee. However, given Kenney Machinery’s track record of inspiring their employees to make a positive impact in the turf industry and the community at large, the next winner will probably not be long in coming.