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Kawasaki Presents Bill Gibbs Award to Ark.’s Tom Richard

Tue April 15, 2008 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Kawasaki has presented the coveted Bill Gibbs award for outstanding salesmanship and commitment to Kawasaki to Tom Richard of G.W. Van Keppel in Arkansas.

The award was presented to Richard at the recently held Kawasaki Sales Council Meeting in Las Vegas, said Gary S. Bell, vice president and general manager of Kawasaki Construction Machinery.

Richard is currently the general manager — Arkansas for Van Keppel, a Kawasaki dealer in Arkansas and St. Louis. He has been with the company and its predecessor, Mitchell Machinery, for 12 years.

Richard didn’t start his career in equipment sales until relatively recently. His father had been in the quarry business and he grew up around heavy equipment. But initially he had youthful ambitions of becoming a lawyer. And in 1995, when G.W. Van Keppel advertised for a territory salesman after the purchase of Mitchell Machinery, Richard was owner of a furniture store.

“I saw a better opportunity for myself and my family when the territory sales job came open,” said Richard. “They hired me and I worked the Arkansas territory till 2001 when they made me a branch manager. Several years later I became general manager for Arkansas, responsible for the Little Rock and Van Buren stores.

“The award was a complete surprise to me,” continued Richard. “I am very honored. But I had a lot of help from the support staff, parts, and service. To be successful takes a total team effort.”

“Tom represents the characteristics that Kawasaki looks for in awarding the Bill Gibbs,” said Bell. “We don’t necessarily select the top volume salesman every year. Rather we select a salesman that exhibits professionalism and skill. Tom is not only professional but is committed to Kawasaki loaders. He believes in the product and our company philosophy of customer satisfaction. He also is committed to his customers and has built strong relationships that have paid off in consistent volume and market share. Tom is a great representative of Kawasaki and we are proud to present him with this recognition.”

For more information, call 770/499-7000 or visit

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