Tim Atchley lost his battle with cancer on Sept. 1.
Friends and colleagues are telling stories about Tim Atchley, a long-time employee of Tramac.
And whether they’re talking about his encyclopedia-like product knowledge or his need for speed, they are all smiling as they remember.
Mr. Atchley died in Indianapolis, Ind., on Sept. 1 at the age of 53, following a courageous battle with cancer, but it was his mix of professional leadership and personal friendliness that are being fondly recalled and honored.
He was employed in the heavy construction equipment industry all of his life, from his earliest mechanic training in Nashville, Tenn., where he worked as a welder to pay for his schooling. He eventually went to work for a heavy equipment dealer in southern Indiana as a field service technician, then later with other road equipment manufacturers in various customer service positions. Most recently, Mr. Atchley was with Tramac/DII Attachments, a division of Doosan Infracore International, as a product support manager helping dealers throughout the country.
“Throughout his sickness, he worked and traveled when he was able and remained optimistic about the future,” said Joe Forth, general manager. “He joined Tramac in the mid-1990’s and went through a lot of changes with many of us. But one thing I knew — I could always trust him and rely on him to do the right thing. No doubt about it.”
His hands-on experience working on machines themselves gave Mr. Atchley enormous credibility in the industry and as a manager.
“The dealers’ mechanics that worked with Tim knew he was able to do any task he would ask them to do. This credibility allowed Tim to immediately get to the heart of any problem and his training programs were always well received,” recalled Tramac colleague Jerry Fifer.
Fifer also saw first-hand how Mr. Atchley’s extensive product knowledge, service experience and easy way with those who worked for him allowed him to manage in a way that produced almost immediate mutual trust.
Greg Clinton, another Tramac employee, recalled the two sides of Mr. Atchley: the weekend side when he and his wife would jump on their motorcycles, and the weekday side totally dedicated to helping customers.
“I remember he would tell me on Monday mornings about his weekend travels. He rarely used a map. They would just get on and ride,” said Clinton. “Professionally, Tim was incredible. Calls were always returned, his reports were detailed to the point that questions were answered before you could ask. Tim was a straight shooter, no-nonsense type of person. He loved his work and was a fantastic communicator and teacher.”
Along with his love of motorcycles, Mr. Atchley was passionate about auto racing. As a young man he owned and raced a sprint car, and was well-known at most of the tracks in the Midwest. One friend recalled Mr. Atchley keeping his gear in the trunk of his car at all times in case an owner needed a last-minute substitute driver.
Ron Van Dunk, a 16-year friend and colleague agreed that Mr. Atchley was an all-around reliable and consistent professional.
“Tim was two different people. There was the intense ’at work’ Tim and then there was the fun-loving Harley riding Tim. He was always the kind of guy that would be there for you and do anything to help you, both in business and personally. I miss him deeply,” he said.