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Becoming a District Manager

High level customer service sets Tigercat apart from its competitors.

— Chris McMillan

It’s common to see locally-based factory representatives along with factory-based customer service staff and engineers in the field visiting customers to address issues and collect feedback to improve future designs.

When Tigercat introduced the 726, and later the 720 drive-to-tree feller bunchers, the machine population was focused in the southern US. Early on, district manager Don Snively covered a swath of territory from Virginia to east Texas. As the machine population grew and Tigercat expanded into new markets, field support staff also expanded.

Rob Selby started with Tigercat as an engineering co-op student in 1994, around the same time that the prototype 853E feller buncher was being developed. Rob worked on the hydraulic layout, component sourcing, as well as the first fire suppression system for the new track buncher. Having worked at his father’s trucking company when he was younger, Rob had his A/1 licence, and on occasion, he drove the Tigercat truck to deliver machines to the southern US.
Working for a small and young company, Rob had plenty of opportunity to get out to the floor and help with the assembly process. “In the early days I was able to spend some time working in the shop. Some of the old Tigercat veterans made it fun to come out from the office and stay late to help build the machines,” says Rob. Being familiar with the hydraulic layout on those early machines, Rob would assist in troubleshooting issues and travel to machines in the field when necessary. That knowledge helped Rob develop into a service manager role, a position he held for a year-and-a-half.

Go west young man

By 1997 sales of the 853E were increasing in BC, and the 845 feller buncher and 630 skidders were gaining popularity. The need for dealer development and customer support in the west became apparent, so Rob was asked if he would be interested in moving to British Columbia to be the western Canada district manager. He and his wife Dayna were newly married. Rob recalls, “Ken, Tony and Grant came to our wedding, and they were trying to float the idea to Dayna about moving west, while at the same time trying to recruit my brother [Kevin Selby] to come work for Tigercat.” Rob and Dayna decided to accept the offer and move to Kelowna, BC.

District managers represent Tigercat in the areas of service, sales and marketing, and provide a direct link between the dealer network and the factory. They also support and assist field service technicians and factory representatives whenever necessary and work with dealers on marketing and trade shows.

Rob was responsible for product support from Manitoba to BC. As the company grew, machine sales increased across Canada. In addition, long before Tigercat had established a dealer presence in the western US, used Tigercat machines were being sold south of the border. Rob recalls, “The US started to grow, even before we did anything official. We had some used machines resold into the US. There are a couple of customers I know in California and Oregon that we have a long relationship with because I went down to visit them before we even had dealers there.” Eventually, it was too much territory for one individual to handle alone. In 2000 James Farquhar made the move from service manager to district manager, taking over Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Dealer development

Today, Tigercat has strong dealer coverage in western North America with Inland in BC, Triad in Washington and Oregon, and Bejac covering California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Rob comments, “Dealer development can be tricky. When we have dealers that carry other manufacturer’s products, we need to see how we fit into their offering and try to get the most out of them, but also make sure that we are doing our part in treating them fairly and making it easier for them to represent our products.” He continues, “Our relationship with our dealers is important. With some of the specialty products we have now like yarders, grinders, and the carbonizer, we need to figure out how they fit in and how they will be supported. I’ve been doing this for many years, and it is still challenging and interesting for sure.”

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