After a 39-year career with Deere & Company, Dick Kleine considers himself in the "Return" phase of life.
"It's been said that there are three stages of life—Learn, Earn and Return," said Kleine, who recently graduated with his SAU Doctor of Business Administration degree. "I'm in the 'Return' stage, actively involved in donating my time, talent and treasure to non-profits in the Quad Cities."
Throughout the years—and particularly since retirement—Kleine has shared his leadership experience and expertise with Family Resources, United Way of the Quad Cities Area, the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, the Carmelite Sisters and the Handicapped Development Center, to name a few. He developed and chaired the leadership council of "Achieve Quad Cities," an initiative to improve high school graduation rates, and co-chaired the Diocese of Davenport's major gifts fund drive. He served as a member of the Quad-City Times Editorial Board and organized community business/education partnerships. In the end, Kleine has served (and continues to serve) in other ways too numerous to mention.
Clearly, Kleine is engaged in "returning."
The foundation for such skill and passion as a leader began with an early awareness of himself. "As early as high school, I knew I wanted to be in management ... to become a manager of a factory, which I accomplished," Kleine said. "I believe everyone should have a vision of what they want to accomplish in their life."
And accomplish he has.
His longstanding career with John Deere began in engineering and ended as Vice President of Quality for the entire corporation. Developing a more participative management style, Kleine pioneered a change in culture and management style at Deere & Company, one focusing on teamwork, employee engagement, and business excellence through customer and employee satisfaction.
After retiring, Kleine honored his belief in continuous learning by pursuing his DBA degree at St. Ambrose.
"I experienced an excellent, high-quality DBA program under the direction of Dr. Monica Forret," said Kleine. "The professors are top-quality and relate very well to students. The program lends much credibility to the College of Business."
In the end, Kleine's continued leadership philanthropy—"Return"—is further informed by his new degree.
"My passion is great management," Kleine said.