Hopes Run High for $20M Phenix City Development

At 84, Bob Tilley Retires From Kirby-Smith Machinery?Inc.

Mon August 13, 2012 - West Edition
CEG


During his time at Kirby-Smith, Tilley has covered most of the state of Oklahoma.
During his time at Kirby-Smith, Tilley has covered most of the state of Oklahoma.

After 27 years of service with Kirby-Smith Machinery Inc., veteran salesman Bob Tilley has retired from the heavy equipment business.

At the age of 84, Tilley was possibly the eldest heavy equipment salesperson still actively selling in the industry.

Tilley grew up in the southwest Oklahoma town of Mountain Park. After school, he left to join the service and eventually went on to obtain a degree in Industrial Arts from Oklahoma Central University.

After college, Tilley began his sales career with Cummins Engine in Oklahoma City, Okla.; he then moved on to the local John Deere dealership and lastly, he owned his own business for a short period of time. In 1985 he joined the Kirby-Smith sales team.

During his time at Kirby-Smith, Tilley has covered most of the state of Oklahoma.

Bill Gustafson, Oklahoma sales manager of 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. They want to know how much you care before they care how much you know,” Tilley said.

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 concluded.