The Stevenson family’s roots have been in agriculture for several generations they have leased and owned many ranches, farms & feedlots. They also have a heritage of innovation as many agriculture people do. So when Jim Stevenson was having trouble with his pivot ruts he looked at all the options and tried several but did not find a solution to the problem.
The deep ruts caused extensive wear on the running gear of the pivot, in extreme cases causing the pivot to get stuck in its own ruts or even tip over. They also cost time in the hay field and damage to the haying equipment.
Knocking in the sides was not much more than a temporary band-aid, only slightly improving the situation for a short time. Wider and taller wheels for each tower was an ongoing expense which ultimately made deeper or wider ruts, and so on.
To Jim’s analytical mind the answer would be to fill those ruts with a road base material. People were filling ruts but it was a labor intensive time consuming ordeal. And so the idea of the Wheel Track Filler worked out in Jim’s head. He went to his fourth of five son’s (Otie), catching him in the middle of putting up his own hay. Jim tells Otie, “I have a job for you.”
Otie says he remembers thinking, “Just what I need is another job.” Now Otie declares, he wishes he’d thrown his hay tools aside and started immediately designing the track filler, but of course he finished haying first and did not start until that fall of 1999.
The whole project was laid before the Lord and we asked God to bless us in this venture that we might bless others. By early 2000 we would patent and sale the first wheel track filler. The response was phenomenal. We have listened to the advice or any problems from our customers and improved anything we found that needed it. But the real alterations have been few. Otie is an excellent welder himself and so originally he welded and our kids and I (Tonya, Otie’s wife) helped with making parts, etc. Otie’s dad, Jim Stevenson, did the sales and still does much of it though he is 87 years young now. The track fillers are still made on our farm.
God has blessed us greatly in this business and as of this Oct. 2014 we have more than 900 OTECO WHEEL TRACK FILLERS out and being used. We have had the blessing of having some great employees as well as many wonderful customers and we are very grateful for each of you. By God’s grace we have been blessed by this business and we trust we have been a blessing to others also.