Ashland Industries' scraper auctioned off for manufacturing trades scholarship fund

A scraper was sold at auction in honor of Bob Eder. All proceeds from the sale will be allocated towards a scholarship fund for those who wish to pursue a degree or education in manufacturing trades.

Ashland Industries built and auctioned off a scraper in honor of their late colleague, Bob Eder. Photo taken September 15, 2021 in West Fargo, North Dakota. Emily Beal / Agweek

As Randy Rust gingerly cleaned the dust off a nine and a half yard scraper, while wiping a lone tear from his cheek, it was clear that this scraper is not like the others at this year’s Big Iron Farm Show .

“This scraper right here has a very special meaning for all of us,” Rust said. “It’s more about the meaning behind it that’s important to us.”

Rust is the director of corporate development and strategic partnerships at Ashland Industries and recently lost a life-long friend and business partner. Bob Eder worked with Rust for over two decades, a staple and respected voice in Ashland Industries. Eder passed away last November after battling bone cancer for some time. Prior to his passing, Eder discussed with his family how he would like the funds to be spent that would come in from the services.

According to Randy Rust, the person who purchased a scraper in memory of his friend Bob Eder purchased more than just a piece of equipment; they are helping jump-start a career. Photo taken Sept. 15, 20201 in West Fargo, North Dakota. Emily Beal / Agweek

“He was very appreciative of what our guys could do, building machines like this on a day-to-day basis. He was really amazed by their skills and ability to produce products like this,” Rust said.


His appreciation was clear, as Eder decided to allocate the future funds as scholarships to those who live in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan who wish to pursue degrees or education in the manufacturing trades. Rust shared this dream with the employees of Ashland Industries and was immediately taken back by the support from the entire company — even those who never met Eder. The group decided to make a scraper that would be auctioned off and all the proceeds would go into the scholarship fund.

It was an all hands on deck venture to bring Bob Eder's dream to life. Even those who never met Eder helped in any way they could to put together a scraper to fund a scholarship in Eder's name. Contributed photo

The scraper was sold Sept. 20, 2021, through Steffes Group and brought $34,000, not including outside donations to the Bob Eder Scholarship Fund. All profits went to the fund.

“What’s really unique is that we had a number of people, because of his long absence, who didn't even know him and they hired after the fact. They would come in and work on this thing after hours because maybe they had some special intentions of their own that they wanted to support this cause,” Rust said.

After the completion of the scraper, a celebration of life was held in honor if Bob Eder. Contributed photo

The project soon became a labor of love, everyone pitching in for the cause. According to Rust, many manufactures donated items, such as tires, for the scraper. In addition, services and labor were donated to the project as well. The Steffes Group also offered to auction off the scraper online, donating their time and commission to the scholarship fund as well.

Eder’s family was very active in the entire process of the scraper being built, coming into the shop and seeing the scraper be brought to fruition. They would also lend a helping hand however they could. When the scraper was finally built, a special emblem was placed on the machine in honor of Bob Eder.


Bob Eder and Randy Rust worked together for 23 years, making a scraper built in Rust's honor and sold to support a scholarship in Rust's name a labor of love for Rust and many others at Ashland Industries. Photo taken Sept. 15, 20201 in West Fargo, North Dakota. Emily Beal / Agweek

“You’re buying more than just a scraper. You’re creating a career path for someone that wants to pursue these trades,” Rust said. “I miss the guy immensely, but man I tell you what, this is something that has changed a lot of us at Ashland Industries.”

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
Emily grew up on a small grains and goat farm in southern Ohio. After graduating from The Ohio State University, she moved to Fargo, North Dakota to pursue a career in ag journalism with Agweek. She enjoys reporting on livestock and local agricultural businesses.
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