stilt pro team

STILT.PRO was founded by Tom Knuth in 2018 with the mission to provide their customers in the wholesale nursery industry with Simple products and solutions that employ appropriate AgTechnology and are designed and MadeTough.  Since then, STILT.PRO has been working hard to understand the needs of their customers, grow relationships, and identify and work with growers to solve their problems in a collaborative manner.

Tom Knuth - Founder and CEO

(218) 343-2650     TomK@STILT.PRO

Tom Knuth is the founder of STILT.PRO.  Prior to STILT.PRO, Tom was a Senior Design Engineer at John Deere and Systems Engineer at Cirrus Aircraft.

He has worked on several notable projects, designing the landing gear and brake systems on the SF50 Vision Jet for Cirrus, and with John Deere designing critical structures and components on the 4R series tractors, leading agricultural backhoe development and strategy, and leading innovation initiatives where he invented and patented the John Deere Quik Knect which won an AE50 award in 2020.  

He has a BSME from Michigan Technological University where he was the chapter president of Sig Eps and is a Professional Engineer (Licensed) in the state of Georgia.

In his spare time, he likes to…, wait, he doesn’t have any of that right now.  Tom splits his time between his business and with his 3 boys and very supporting wife.  When he had a little more freedom, he enjoyed spending time outside, working in the shop, remodeling his home and learning how to do new things.

Rick Player - Director of Business Development

Rick Player - Director of Business Development

Hi, my name is Rick Player, Director of Business Development at STILT.PRO.  I am excited to be apart of the STILT.PRO team.

I grew up in central Georgia on a farm where we raised cotton, peanuts, soybeans, and corn. My job after cotton growing was to keep it sprayed; it was a once a week process, so I lived on a John Deere sprayer. After high school, I went into the Army served in Germany for three years. I then was recruited into the DEA, where I served for three more years. After that, I spent four years at Philips Medical Systems as a heart cath equipment specialist. In 1987 I opened MIT (Medical Imaging Technologies) and served as President for 32 years.  I sold MIT in April of 2018; it was a bittersweet end to a great run. When Tom moved STILT.PRO into my facility in Thomson, I was excited to learn he works in the agriculture business.

When I’m not working I like to travel with my wife and golf at new courses. We spend time at the lake and hunting in the fall. We live on 20 acres, so a lot of my time is spent mowing and planting. It’s incredible how good grass grows when you get lots of rain.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for STILT.PRO; I am here to serve our customers and build new relationships in the plant nursery industry. Thanks.

Caleb Carpenter - Assistant to the regional manager

Caleb Carpenter

Mason Edwards - The Chief Fabricator

Matthew Martin - Master Problem Solver

Addison McCord - Intern Vice President of Manufacturing

Addison McCord

Hello, I am Addison McCord, the Vice President of Manufacturing and a student at Clemson University.  I am majoring in Agriculture Mechanization and Business. Yep, that is right, after only two semesters I am already a Vice President, that’s just the Clemson difference. I have been involved in agriculture most of my life but really got the Ag bug in high school when I joined FFA and got to enjoy all that Ag has to offer. Throughout high school I worked with a forester in South Georgia and my senior year I got a job as a part time student at John Deere in Grovetown, Georgia. In college I have worked at Clemson’s Simpson Research and Education Center. As you can see Agriculture is a big part of my life and I am here to improve you and your plants livelihood.

Now that schools out and I have finally found some free time. I spend it out on the golf course trying to figure out if I will ever shoot par on 18, Spending time with friends, and various woodworking and metal working projects with my father. Come fall you will find me glued to all college football games, especially Georgia football games as a lifelong fan 4 years at Clemson will not change that.

In The News
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Interview with Founder and CEO Tom Knuth
theClubhou.seCatching up with STILT.PRO
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Innovation Process and Product Design with Founder and CEO Tom Knuth
We’re always looking for talented, creative and passionate people to join our team.  

We’ve got our hands in a bit of everything from IoT software development, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering to Manufacturing and Field Service.  Lets talk!  Introduce yourself –

Latest Articles


Lean Flow and Process Improvement

Lean Flow and Process Improvement Machine Design for the Planting Line Have you ever thought of your plant production PLANT PRODUCTION like this? Plant production in nurseries closely resembles a traditional manufacturing line.  These manufacturing lines have had a lot of scrutiny applied to them over the years.  Some bright folks have developed some great tools to help optimize production processes.  If you’d like to learn more about these tools, head over to our sister site to learn more.  I bet you’ll find some bit of info on how you can make some improvements to your operation. We use

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nursery potting machine

4 Nursery Machines built specially for nursery container growers

4 Nursery Machines built specially for nursery container growers Here are 4 examples and some info to learn a little bit about the different nursery machines that are built specifically for nursery growers: Potting Machines Potting machines have been for a very long time and have provided numerous growers with efficiency improvements.  They come in many sizes to fit the needs of any size grower.  The primary purpose of this nursery machine is to fill containers with soil for growing plants.  They typically have a hopper to hold material and a means to dispense the material over the top of

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What is a Rice Hull Blower?

Frequently Asked Questions about Rice Hull mulch and Topdressing What is rice hull mulch? Rice hull mulch is the application of rice hulls to the top of a growing media or soil.  The purpose is to prevent the germination and growth of weeds. By providing a depth of around 1.25”, weed seed that lands on the container or ground are unable to retain the moisture and proper environmental conditions to grow.  This prevents the growth of weeds. What is rice hull material? Rice hull or husk material is the case or chaff of the rice.  It is a byproduct of

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Lean Flow Six Sigma Download

You’re all set! You can access your free lean flow six sigma methods and tools here at any time.  We’ve also sent you an email to this link (check your spam) 5 Lean flow six sigma methods & tools you can apply right now to your growing operation! Downlaod Now

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small nursery potting machine

Frequently Asked Questions about Small Nursery Potting Machines

FAQ about small nursery potting machines What is a potting machine? A potting machine is a piece of equipment that facilitates filling containers with growing media for plants.  The machines typically lift material up above the container and then let it waterfall down over a container.  Unused soil is recycled back into the machine. What type of electricity does a potting machine need? The bigger the machine the more electricity infrastructure is required.  Large multi yard nursery potting machines often require a great deal of power.  Commonly this is 3 phase 208V. In the US there are a handful of

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rice hull application and weed control USDA research
Rice Hull Blower

Pros and Cons of Field Application of Rice Hulls

Pros and Cons of Field Application of Rice Hulls Here are a few things to consider when analyzing your options for rice hull application: With the field application, you do need to use 50lb bales so the operator can load the machine in the field. If an operator is not careful rice hull blowing can be messy and spread beyond the containers. You are able to allow small liners to grow larger and establish themselves into the new containers before covering with rice hulls. If applying rice hulls on a potting line, you risk jostling the plants when moving the

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What does the warranty look like?

3 Year, Unlimited Hours Warranty – INCLUDED

What does it include?

Includes: Problem identification, remote trouble shooting of issue, support and instruction for proper repair, and providing replacement of failed parts.

What is excluded?

Excludes – Misuse of equipment (including using non horticultural potting mixes with high sand and field soil content) or improper care, such as leaving fertilizer in machine for an extended period of time.  Wear parts (chain, slats, wear plates or surfaces).  External physical damage inflicted on the machine.  Labor repair costs.

We will walk you through the repair process and make sure you're happy.

What about Service Parts?

Yes, we keep inventory of most all parts. Most all of the components are either US Sourced or a common off the shelf component. We are having some supply chain issues on components, but we are working through the best way to manage that.

What about Repair?

All of our machines are designed right here in the US.  We design these machines to be easily repairable by an inexperienced worker.  Should a problem arise, you won’t need to weld or fabricate a new part.  The entire machine is bolted together and you can simply bolt in a replacement part.

The hopper capacity seems low

We have heard that concern, I get it, you won’t be able to load a machine up and let a person pot plants for a day.

Some perspective – The rear load machine holds about 3/4 – 1 cubic yard which is up to about 200 gallons of material. That gives you about 15 minutes of runtime without stopping.

The reason for the smaller equipment size is to primarily keep the price and complexity down.

Increasing the machine size has a few unwelcome side effects:

-Increase horsepower requirements which means increased power – now you have to have dedicated power for the machine.

-Increasing the hopper size also increases the physical size of the machine which increases the overall cost and reduces portability

You may have not made a purchase on a potting machine in the past because of the overall cost.

We're being cautious around those concerns and trying to work within your business goals.

Is this production rate slow?

From time to time, we hear that our production rates appear slow. Look at it this way though. You have 5 or 10 workers running a high-speed line. SOMETHING GOES WRONG, you now have all these people standing around and/or you need to find a different job for them.

What's your real per man hour potting rate?

If you have a machine problem with a high-speed line you’re completely shut down.  With a cell-based design, you have a small part of the potting operation down.  Your efficiency is similar whether you have 1 or 4 people operating STILT.PRO machines.

Your business is complex, don't make it worse.

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