Karen Buerkle
Project Manager - Drivetrain Operations
John Deere Waterloo Works

Waterloo, IA

“Love what you do. Manufacturing has a lot of opportunities for this; it’s competitive, active, and technologically advanced. There are many different roles in manufacturing to stimulate you. Remember to do every job the best you can, treat everyone with respect, stay optimistic and you will make an impact.”

Karen has used her exceptional educational background as a springboard to hone her technical skills and develop interpersonal and management skills as she’s taken on increasing responsibilities at John Deere.  She currently leads the capacity expansion efforts for the John Deere Large Tractor transmissions and front and rear axle business located in Waterloo Iowa. 

As part of the development of the manufacturing plan, Karen analyzes current capacity and production volume, considers future cell design and flow concepts, leads procurement of machines tools and integrates automation.   She shows outstanding project and people management skills as she communicates with her team and with other resources in her responsibility for developing approximately 50 new machine tools and 150 machine moves with a budget of $32 million over two years.

Karen is actively involved with her family, coaches youth activities, and supports the community.  She believes in fostering interest in the sciences and helping kindle a spark that may get more women involved in manufacturing.  Karen is a trusted resource for mentoring and guiding new talent at John Deere, and ensuring their success.

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