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When Master Sgt. Germán Ortiz began preparing for retirement, he set out to find a place his family could call home and a private-sector employer who could use the skills, education and training he amassed during two decades in the U.S. Air Force. His research led him to the Quad Cities and Moline-based John Deere via the company’s partnership with the Department of Defense's SkillBridge Program. The first-generation American and Colombian immigrant’s story was among the ways in which key Deere & Co. leaders shared a glimpse of the company’s large impact on the Quad Cities with local media during the inaugural John Deere Media day Monday, Sept. 18, at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline. That unique museum and top tourist attraction is itself a demonstration of the contributions of founder John Deere, the manufacturing giant he gave birth to and the impact that he and his invention continue to have on the community the global company still calls home. The draw of that modern-day archive remodeled extensively during the COVID-19 pandemic was on display Monday as speakers including Neil Dahlstrom, Deere’s manager of branded properties and heritage, took the podium. Visitors who had just departed a tour bus crowded around to peek through a wall of glass to see the massive machinery featured prominently in the pavilion’s giant showroom. Also Monday, Mara Downing, Deere’s vice president of corporate communication and brand management, shared an overview of the economic and social impact on the Quad Cities that is made each year by Deere’s 9,700 employees and the 6,200 retirees who live in the QC.