After 27 years of service with Kirby-Smith Machinery Inc., veteran Bob Tilley has retired from the heavy equipment business. At 84, Tilley is one of the oldest heavy equipment salespersons still actively selling in the industry.
Tilley grew up in Mountain Park, Okla. After school, he joined the military and later obtained a degree in industrial arts from Oklahoma Central University.
After college, Tilley began his sales career with Cummins Engine in Oklahoma City, and later worked for a John Deere and owned his own business for a short period of time. In 1985, he joined the Kirby-Smith sales team.
Bill Gustafson, Oklahoma sales manager for Kirby-Smith, said: “Tilley is known throughout the industry for his ability to find a little bit of humor in most situations. He can usually turn a negative into a positive with a little bit of humor and perspective”.
Tilley attributes his sense of humor to growing up with an uncle who taught him everyone has problems, and they need help forgetting. “I was taught early on in my career from one of my customers that people want to do business with people," he said. "They want to know how much you care before they care how much you know.”
Tilley said he is looking forward to retirement, but will miss the business and people he’s worked beside for so many years. “It’s been a good ride,” Tilley added.