Richard S. Olmen, age 70, of South Whitehall Township, formerly of St. Paul, MN, died in his home on Saturday, June 25.
He was a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in civil engineering. He had more than 36-years of distinguished employment with Ingersoll-Rand in sales and management.
In 1960, Olmen was offered a sales engineer trainee position with Ingersoll-Rand. He opened and ran a sub-branch of Thalman Equipment Corp., which later became I-R Equipment Corp. and today is known as IRES with branches throughout the United States.
In 1967, he was appointed vice president and sales manager of Thalman Equipment and within two years became vice president and general manager of IRES NY/NJ. He was instrumental in leading the transition of its primary headquarters to Hanover, NJ.
Richard’s career literally was steered into new territory in 1974 when he was transferred to the Portable Compressor Division. He became the manager of domestic marketing and quickly thereafter, manager of marketing for all products manufactured by the division for worldwide use. It was at this time that he had the opportunity to travel, see and experience much of the world including North and South America, Europe, Australia, Japan and the Asian Pacific.
During his six years at the Portable Compressor Division, he made significant changes, which included converting small portables from sliding rotary vane to screw compressors, expanding the market share of all portableS in the United States to a leadership position as well as broadening the market share internationally, and changing the foundation and accountability of the parts area — doubling the output in terms of percentage of complete machine sales.
For the next 10 years, Richard worked with a team of sales and division managers to develop domestic distribution and market leadership in all of the products of the Construction & Mining Group.
When Richard was promoted in 1989 to vice president of sales of the Construction & Mining Group, he became responsible for sales throughout North and South America.
He implemented a plan to centralize all departments and staff activities of the sales group into a single facility in Bethlehem, PA, called the Americas C&M Sales Headquarters.
Richard also regionalized sales and distribution areas to improve efficiency and profitability. He developed and installed the first computerized real-time online accounting and inventory system for IRES and a booking system for the construction equipment distributors. This provided sales and branch management immediate real-time information on all aspects of the business and empowered them to make better and quicker decisions.
He was a firm believer that “People made it happen, and that if you challenge people and empower them in the right environment, they could do amazing things. Guidelines had to be set in order to maintain corporate and group integrity and give them as much empowerment as possible.”
In 1994 and 1995, Richard started and followed to near completion, the first computerized and automated sales information system in Ingersoll-Rand, known as SIMON.
After his retirement in 1997, Richard enjoyed spending time with family and friends as well as doing some traveling, but he still enjoyed staying in touch with former co-workers, customers and dealers.
He is survived by his wife, Marilyn; daughter, Denise, of Kenora, Ontario, Canada; son, Steven, of St. Paul, MN; brother, Douglas and his wife, Karen, of Penrose, CO; sister, Diane and her husband, Andrei, of Westcliffe, CO; and nieces and nephews.
Private services were arranged by Downing Funeral Home Inc., Bethlehem, PA.
Contributions may be made in Richard’s name to Melonoma Cancer Research, c/o Dr. Riley, 801 Ostrum St., Bethlehem, PA, 18015.