Exmark is committed to constantly raising the bar and for nearly 30 years, Garry Busboom has led engineering and product development teams focused on delivering increased performance, reliability and quality-of-cut from commercial mowers. In fact, since joining the Exmark team in 1985, Busboom has led the development of many of the products and technologies that have come to be known as synonymous with the Exmark brand – products including the company’s ubiquitous Lazer Z® zero-turn riding mower and the Enhanced Control System (ECS) for walk-behind and stand-on riding mowers. He also holds 23 U.S. patents.
A Nebraska-native, Busboom says the experience growing up on his family farm outside Lincoln shaped his role in the development of the Lazer Z and other innovative products. Even as a youth, he found the process of maintaining the farm equipment, including mowers, helped focus his thoughts on how to make the equipment better, faster and more reliable. This served as inspiration for Busboom’s passion.
After graduating from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, Busboom spent more than eight years as an engineer at the Gleaner Combine division of the Allis Chalmers Corp. There, he learned the value of direct end-user feedback in the product development process. He spent numerous weeks each year working with “custom harvesters”, from Texas to Montana, who tested prototype machines in a wide variety of conditions for the company.
Busboom says his experience designing combines for custom harvesters worked to his advantage when he joined the Exmark team in 1985. Many strong parallels existed both in the design of combines and zero-turn mowers, as well as the dynamics of custom harvesting and professional landscaping. For both customers, he understood productivity, reliability and performance were the criteria for success.
In 1994 when Exmark began development of the Lazer Z, Busboom knew who he had to please, so he went to the company’s customers and asked for their input. He sought feedback as to the strengths, weaknesses and overall performance of available products. Then, with a better understanding of the customers’ needs and expectations, Busboom and the Product Planning Committee set about developing the design specifications for the first Lazer Z zero-turn riding mower. Launched by Exmark in April of 1995, the Lazer Z quickly established itself as the industry standard for productivity, cut quality and durability.
In his nearly 30-years at Exmark, Busboom has held a number of titles, including chief engineer, director of engineering, director of research and development, and his current title – chief development engineer – a title he’s held since 2009. Busboom’s current role includes a seat on the Exmark Product Planning Committee, which provides product recommendations for the two- to five-year range to the Exmark division executive team. As a continuation to his past role as Director of R&D, he continues to monitor a wide variety of technology and green industry trends on an ongoing basis, particularly with respect to alternative energy.
Busboom also serves as Chairman of the Exmark Product Advisory Council (PAC), where he leads a team of eight hand-picked individuals that form a cross-functional team to champion customer advocacy for product integrity. Developed to address issues of field performance, durability, reliability and manufacturability, among others, the PAC is always asking the question, “Will the product meet or exceed customer expectations?”
When not at Exmark, Busboom enjoys spending time with family, including his four boys – all baseball players. An avid Chevy Camaro enthusiast, he is the proud owner of 5 collector car Camaros. In 2012, Busboom returned to his roots and in his spare time works the family farm alongside his eldest son.