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The Master Salesman

Discussion in 'Gone But Not Forgotten' started by JAdams, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. JAdams

    JAdams Member

    Aug 29, 2015
    Advertising/PR, Sales
    Clearwater, Florida
    He was not a member of this forum, but I am, and wish to tell his story.
    He was a self made business man, educated up to 6th grade during the Depression, when he was sent from Chicago to a small country farm during summers, while farmer sons were overseas.
    He became legally blind before he was 40 years old, yet started many successful companies, and worked like a wild man til a year or so before he died at age 84. Blindness did not stop him but only slowed him down somewhat. He specialized in used Caterpillar, Bobcats and a few different trailer lines. He had his own trucking dept. And, anything else that had to do with construction and equipment thereof. He opened a Jeep dealership when it was still Willies, and bought a Ford dealership. His 5 kids of great ability helped in almost every single area of all of his businesses, as well as their own individual careers.
    I worked for him since I was about 10 years old. Started with sweeping floors, refilling the pop machine, and cleaning bathrooms. I asked him what made him decide to start his own business? He told me in 1949, his young, pregnant wife was waiting on the snowy, cold street for him to pick her up, and his boss at the Ford garage told him he could not leave til he did a favor for a customer, fix their vehicle after hours. The boss ordered him to stay late or he was fired. So, he packed up his tools and left for good. At that moment he determined he would never work for anyone else again. Shortly after that, he went to work (temporarily) for Caldwell Construction in Chicago. He purchased the company he worked for and moved it to another city, turning it into a multi million dollar business, adding 2 car dealerships and various other companies. I still worked for him off and on over the years, learning what he did. I asked one time to show me and he said "I can't show you. You would have to follow my steps" - so I did. I drove him around and took care of his collections, which were few, due to a strict policy he set up. Meanwhile, many people told me he was "crazy" and his own wife disparaged him to others. He was just brilliant and difficult, yes, but understood only by a certain few. Especially his employees, who admired him and many, of whom he mentored.
    I miss him more than words can say. He taught me so much. But he never really knew me until his last days, which I understood, because he was that forward of a mover. He had time at last to become enlightened, and his thanks were more than mere words once he learned who he really was. ja
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
    tctractors, BigWrench55, JPV and 5 others like this.
  2. Junkyard

    Junkyard Senior Member

    Jun 5, 2016
    Field Mechanic
    Claremore, OK
    I can relate. Sounds like a great experience. We’re lucky to know men like him.
    JAdams likes this.
  3. Tomcat955

    Tomcat955 Member

    Sep 12, 2021
    He sounds like one of those old timers far and few between now adays. I met a few like that and I try to learn as much as I can from them. Is there any Wisdom you can share with someone just getting started that he taught you or you know yourself. What was his policy?