A quiet, yet forceful leader with a brilliant mind for sales and marketing, Joe MacDonald created a company that could not only compete with the largest OEMs, but simultaneously be a supplier to them. MacDonald started his lifelong career in farm equipment at the Cockshutt Plow Company, working his way up from the parts department to Canadian sales manager. When White Farm Equipment Canada, purchased Cockshutt, MacDonald was made vice president of marketing and later, president. MacDonald left White in 1971 to become a consultant to Killbery Industries Ltd., a company he subsequently purchased.
Under the name MacDon Industries Ltd., MacDonald narrowed the focus of Killbery's product lines and turned the company into a world leader in harvesting technology. Working directly with producers, Joe led the development of innovative improvements to pull-type and self-propelled windrowers, enabling producers around the world more productivity. In the mid 1980's, under Joe's leadership, MacDon developed the first dual application draper header for use on windrowers and most brands of combines, thereby allowing producers more flexibility and harvesting capacity.
MacDonald's philosophy was that you succeed by finding a way where both you and the customer get ahead. He created an innovative dual distribution system, which allowed for the sale of MacDon products to OEMs under their brand while also selling similar products directly to independent dealers under the MacDon brand.
Active within the industry, MacDonald served as a director of the Farm and Industrial Equipment Institute (FIEI) and founder and chairman of the Canadian Farm and Industrial Equipment Institute (CFIEI). In 1993, MacDonald was honored as "One of the 100 Most Significant Contributors to Ag and Construction Mechanization" over the past 100 years by the Equipment Manufacturers Institute. MacDonald was also inducted into the Manitoba Manufacturers Hall of Fame for his support and contributions to the growth of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba.