Michael Robert Sill, former president of Associated Equipment Distributors, passed away May 28, at the age of 78. Mr. Sill grew up in Duluth, Minn., and graduated from Duluth Central High School, and the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
After serving in the United States Air Force from 1951 to 1953, Mr. Sill went to work for Road Machinery & Supplies Co. (RMS), the company his father started in 1926.
In 1956, he moved to Minneapolis to start a RMS branch office and worked for the company until his retirement in 1996.
During that time, Mr. Sill played a pivotal role in the success of RMS, helping the company become statewide representative of Clark (wheel loaders), Blaw Knox (asphalt pavers), and Link Belt (cranes and excavators) by 1960.
He helped the company grow further as RMS entered the truck equipment business in 1972 and expanded that operation in 1979 when it became the Midwest distributor of Telelect Products and other lines of truck mounted equipment in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa.
By 1980, Road Machinery took on representation of Komatsu dozers and by 1985 had added the Komatsu wheel loader and excavator product lines. Komatsu is the second largest manufacturer of construction equipment in the world. In 1986, RMS started Aspen Equipment Co., following its acquisition of Airpower Equipment Corp. Aspen’s focus was on general equipment such as air compressors, light towers, chippers, and truck cranes.
In 1994 Mr. Sill and his identical twin brother Mitchell split the business for growth purposes while Mitch and his family took ownership of Aspen Equipment and the former Truck Equipment Division (renamed Reach Equipment), and Mike and his family retained RMS and its heavy construction, forestry, and mining products.
Mr. Sill served as AED president in 1985. He also served as a board member of Habitat for Humanity of Collier County and the Associated General Contractors of Minn.
Mr. Sill was a member of the Young Presidents Organization and served as chapter chairman and on the national board of directors. He was a member of the Chief Executive Organization and World Presidents Organization which offered him the opportunity to travel, meet and learn from many world leaders.
In 1976, Mr. Sill was with the first U.S. delegation of businessmen, sanctioned by the State Department, for a trade mission trip to Cuba where they met with Fidel Castro. He served on a number of company boards, including First Bank of Minneapolis, The Franklin National Bank, Venturian, Vaughns, and Polaris Industries.
Mr. Sill touched many lives as a friend, businessman, and mentor. He had an uncanny memory for names and faces and he was truly interested in everyone he ever met. He was a member of Wayzata Country Club, the Royal Ponciana Country Club and Port Royal Club of Naples, Fla.
Mr. Sill is survived by his wife of 51 years, Barbara; daughters Debra Williams (Hunt III) and Patricia Sill; sons Michael and Douglas and six grandchildren. His son Michael Sill II, is the third generation president and CEO of RMS.