This October marks a special milestone at Ideal.
It was in October of 1985 that Dennis Haefner teamed with OPE dealer Jon Herman to develop a business management software system that would forever change the way outdoor power equipment dealers conduct their daily business.
Today, Ideal is proud to celebrate 30 years of service to not only OPE dealers, but also dealers in the Powersports, Marine, Golf Car, RV, Trailer, Agriculture and Hearth industries. We’ve come a long way from the original DOS Profit System, to Ideal for Windows, and have become pioneers with the first-of-its-kind mobile app for dealers to manage their business. We’ve also evolved and gained more resources after Constellation Dealership Software acquired the company in 2010.
We are grateful to our 1,100+ loyal customers who have made the last 30 years a tremendous success. It is through all of our relationships and continuous feedback from customers that we’ve been able to develop a product that has helped make dealers’ lives easier.
There are five Ideal employees who have been around for the majority of our success. These individuals recently shared some of their most memorable moments during their 20+ years working at Ideal.
Price List Coordinator
27 years of service
Rita started working at Ideal in May of 1988, just after her youngest turned 1. She originally applied for a secretarial job, and but after Dennis saw her resume, he called and said he had something else in mind. Dennis and Jon made her an offer to start in the support department and build computers and her career evolved from there.
After working in support and hardware for 13 years, she opted to try something new with the company. When an opening came up in the price list department, she convinced Dennis that she would be the perfect fit. Although Dennis was reluctant for her to leave support, he understood she needed a change and she’s been there ever since.
“I started here when Ideal was just a baby,” said Rita. “It has been exciting to see how far the company has come. We’ve had many celebrations including our first million dollars in sales, many anniversaries, births, weddings, retirements and even deaths. Ideal is our second family. We’ve had a lot of laughter and sorrows, but we all share it together. That is what makes Ideal unique and a good place to work.”
Some of Rita’s favorite moments during her tenure have been meeting our dealers. “I’ve been to Expo a few times and it is always great to interact with the dealers and put faces to voices,” said Rita.
Director of Research and Development
27 years of service
Kurt also began his tenure at Ideal in May of 1988 as an intern student at the University of Iowa. Dennis brought him in to program the General Ledger module for the DOS program. Kurt thought it was a good opportunity to get some work experience before he finished classes that fall. Dennis ended up hiring full-time by the end of the summer and he’s been here ever since.Kurt has essentially been responsible for developing the Ideal software since its existence, including being the lead developer for Ideal for Windows, a project that took years of planning and many late nights.Throughout Kurt’s tenure, he has a lot of fond memories at Ideal both professionally and personally.
“It’s been great working with all the different employees, customers, colleagues that I’ve come in contact with over the years,” said Kurt. “There have been some very interesting individuals. I’ve also enjoyed all the changes that have taken place in the workplace – the software, the people, the ownership, the industry, the technology, and the success of the company. It has definitely kept things interesting. I’ve also enjoyed all of the company events where you get to hang out with the other employees. Those are the things that you remember the most.”
26 years of service
Robb wasn’t far behind Kurt when he joined Ideal. He too was a student at the University of Iowa and after interviewing with Dennis in January of 1989, he felt like it was a good place to start his career.During his tenure, Robb has contributed to the general development of the software and has also specialized in specific areas. He developed the program Ideal uses to process and distribute price list updates. He’s also had a hand in creating the programs used to convert data to the Ideal format for new customers coming from other business systems, and current customers transitioning from our original DOS based program, to Ideal for Windows.“I have enjoyed being part of a close-knit group of people at Ideal,” said Robb. “We all have worked hard to build and support a product that over a 1,000 businesses across the country rely on every day to be more profitable and efficient. That is very satisfying.”
Some of Robb’s most memorable moments include Ideal hitting one million dollars in sales, Ideal’s 25th anniversary celebration, and the in-house birthday, bachelor and bachelorette parties we’ve had over the years.
21 years of service
Most Ideal users recognize the name Dave Baumgarten. To date, Dave has worked in over 800 dealerships, worked in every state in the country, almost every province in Canada, and in Puerto Rico. He has traveled over 2 million miles in the air and several hundred thousand miles on the ground.
“I’m fairly confident that I may hold the record in the entire industry when it comes to implementation of products and providing services to the customer in their environment,” said Dave.
Dave’s journey started in November of 1994. He had recently been working as a software trainer for a competitor. He liked being in the field and helping dealers, so the opening at Ideal seemed like a good fit. Dennis was initially skeptical, so they agreed to a 90-day trial employment. It all worked out well and by the end of the 90 days, he was off and running on his own.
“I enjoy working with dealers and helping to make their dealerships successful,” said Dave. “I have been able to develop a number of long-lasting personal relationships with dealers that will last long after I retire. The employees at Ideal, many who have been around longer than I have, have become like family to me. We work well together and do whatever needs to be done to reach our goals as a company and provide the best possible customer experience for our user community.”
20 years of service
Greg began his tenure in 1995 after he ran into an old colleague, former Ideal sales manager Jim Crowley, and he was immediately intrigued with what he was doing. He felt that working in the software industry that was focused in the “dealership world” was exactly what he was looking for.
One of Greg’s most memorable moments occurred early in his career.
“I was onsite doing a software presentation,” said Greg. “It was painfully obvious that is was the owner’s sons who wanted a computer system, not the father. He was a very large and intimidating figure to me and he was vocal about not wanting a fancy computer system for something that he could do by hand. The boys eventually won that battle with dad and they bought Ideal.”
“About six months later, I received a phone call from the dad,” added Greg. “He was having problems with his workstation. His comment to me was, ‘how am I supposed to get anything done around here without my computer working?’ That’s when I really understood the value of Ideal’s software. In six short months, Ideal had become such a valuable tool, even for someone who initially had no intentions of using a computer to run his business, that he couldn’t live without it.”
As sales manager, Greg and his team have achieved incredible growth and numerous company milestones.
“What was unique for me was that my first office was a converted closet,” said Greg. “We did whatever it took and aesthetics did not matter. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see the growth of Ideal over a 20 year period. In sales, when there is success, you kind of get the glory like the quarterback of a football team. However without the o-line and a rock solid defense, you wouldn’t have a prayer. It’s the same at Ideal. Our sales growth and success is the bi-product of a great team.”