Morbark announces that longtime industrial sales representative Larry Burkholder has retired after nearly 57 years with the company.
While Burkholder’s contributions have come mainly with the sales team, he served in a wide range of roles within Morbark over the course of his career, from accounting to marketing. He even had a hand in sales when he joined Morbark as a bookkeeper in 1962: he acted as a sales assistant to Ralph Morey, the brother of company founder Norval Morey. He also held the positions of Marketing Manager, Manager of Recycling Systems, Inc. — a division of Morbark — and Vice President and General Manager of Morbark of the Lake States, a franchised dealer based in Tomahawk, Wis.
Burkholder excelled at sales at Morbark, helping his region frequently earn the highest annual revenue for the company and acting as a major force behind the company, at one time achieving a 90% market share for industrial equipment in Florida. He assisted customers in capitalizing on business opportunities and shepherding others through federal and state grant processes to purchase millions of dollars’ worth of Morbark equipment. Some of the customers he established are among Morbark’s largest to this day.
“I think Larry pioneered consultative selling in our industry,” said John Foote, Morbark’s Senior Vice President. “He thinks like a businessman who just happens to be selling equipment. Larry’s all about helping others grow. He has had a hand in training or influencing almost all of the sales representatives at Morbark today, teaching us that sales is more than ‘memorizing and regurgitating feeds and speeds;’ it’s about helping the customer succeed.”
“Larry is a true industry expert and considered a mentor by his customers and peers within the industry,” said Michael Stanton, Director of Industrial Products. “Larry’s passion and attention to detail in an effort to provide customer success were second to none. His legacy will continue on within the industry for many years.”
Burkholder actively participated in the industry and community throughout his career, having served as President of the National Wood Energy Assn. during its formative years in the 1980s; he was also on the board as a member of several industry associations, including the American Loggers Council, Michigan Forest Products Committee and Forest Resources Association; finally, he served as Chairman of the Isabella Co. Republican Party.
Morbark briefly halted production this afternoon so all employees could attend Burkholder’s retirement celebration, along with his family, friends and former coworkers.