One of Billings’ most outstanding business people, John Hurd, was recently inducted into the Wyoming Technical Institute’s Hall of Fame. Hurd is store manager for RDO Equipment Co, in Billings, the largest John Deere Ag and Construction dealership group in the country.

John Hurd has become a favorite at Yellowstone County News and recognized as an outstanding community volunteer because of his hard work and dedicated efforts for Dig It Days, a fund raiser for youth entering the construction industry and in other support efforts to launch other people onto life’s road.

Wyoming Technical Institute (WyoTech) introduces Hurd on their website saying that he came to the school as a Laramie High School graduate in 1983.  

Hurd started his career in the construction business, then moved on to gain experience in the logging industry. Because of his love of cars, as well as with some influence from his brother, John enrolled in the Wyoming Technical Institute, where he graduated from the Collision Refinishing w/ Upholstery program in 1989 and 1990.

At the time, Hurd had little idea how important his nine months at WyoTech would be in his future, nor could he have imagined the career journey and the amazing industry experiences in store for him.

 After graduation, Hurd continued work in construction, spending evenings and weekends working on cars.  He opened “Creative Customs”, an auto body paint & upholstery business in Laramie, with his dad in 1991.

Hurd’s trade education career started in 1992, teaching Custom Paint at WyoTech in the evenings with his former instructor, Kim Helgeson. In 1993, when another former instructor, Carl Miller, called with an opportunity to teach Trim & Upholstery, a 25-year career with WyoTech and trade education was launched.

Hurd described the opportunity to work with students in the classroom by delivering a lesson and sharing a skill as a “career highlight” that drove him to learn more and become the best he could be.  He was promoted to Assistant Coordinator of the Collision Department at WyoTech in 1996, and, over the next five years, he and Carl Miller helped to grow the department to nearly 400 students.  

In 2001, through the encouragement of Jim Mathis, Hurd became Operations Coordinator, working with the Campus Housing and Physical Plant teams. A highlight of this experience was working closely with Dave Kuhn and his team on the various campus projects, which gave Hurd a new appreciation for those who manage student housing.

In 2003, after the acquisition by Corinthian Colleges, Hurd and a small group from WyoTech went to Pelham, Alabama, for a new school start up- Virginia College Technical (VC Tech). The experience expanded Hurd’s program and curriculum development skills, adding state/national program accreditation and school operations experiences. After the acquisition of VC Tech, a call from mentor and friend Andy Vignone in late 2006, sent Hurd to California as president of WyoTech’s Sacramento campus. The next five years provided leadership experiences and continued growth in his industry network.

In 2012, Hurd transitioned into an Industry Relations role for all of WyoTech, representing the brand at industry trade events across the country. A highlight of this experience was the development and startup of the Mack & Volvo Truck DATE program at the Blairsville, Pennsylvania, and Laramie, Wyoming campuses. In November 2017, after another acquisition, a decision was made to shut down all remaining WyoTech campuses, but by early 2018, Hurd worked alongside Jim Mathis and team, assisted on a business plan to save WyoTech, which has ultimately been a huge success.

In 2019, his career shifted out of the trades education back to construction as store manager in Billings for RDO Equipment Co, the largest John Deere Ag and Construction dealership group in the country.

Hurd’s WyoTech experiences continue to be used daily in operations, team leadership, curriculum and program development. In 2021, he led a team of construction industry partners creating Build Montana, a high school internship program introducing students to career opportunities in construction. He maintains his connection with WyoTech, recruiting for RDO at career fairs and serving as a board member for the LoveTrades Foundation. He also serves on the boards for the Montana Contractors Association Education Foundation, Montana Equipment Dealers Association and Montana Skills USA.

Alongside Hurd in this journey has been an unwavering faith in God, his wife, Mindy, son, Jacob, and daughter, Jaylin. 

When asked about what advice he would give to someone who is just starting their journey in the trades, Hurd said, “Be patient, listen and learn from others in the trade. Keep learning and growing in your trade, excellence isn’t a race, it’s a journey. Don’t be the one to say no…say yes…let someone else tell you no.”


Most of the information for this article came from the WyoTech website, including the picture of John Hurd.


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