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Captains Of Industry

Apr 30, 2015 - 4 years ago

By Supply Post

Woodland Equipment: From Humble Beginnings…35 Years Later!

Over the decades there are any number of cute anecdotes or metaphors that have been used when discussing the reasons for a person’s or a business’s success or failure. The list of these Urban Legends could sometimes seem to be endless: thinking out of the box; they’ve got willpower; when the going gets tough, the tough get going or when the going gets rough the rough get going; quitting is not an option; if you are dealt lemons, make lemonade; good luck spawns success, which if turned around could read, bad luck spawns failure; poised for success; from humble beginnings success will oft times flow. In the past 35 years, George Anderson and the team at Woodland Equipment Inc. have heard them all, and exemplified many.

Yes, 2015 marks the very proud 35th anniversary of a company that some would say was born out of adversity and has stuck around through the good times and the not-so-good times. Today, they have become one of the most respected and successful heavy-equipment dealers in British Columbia. But how and where did this success story start?

Upon finishing his grade 12 high school education, George Anderson was a typical young man with lots of desire and ambition… and possibly a bit less direction. But at an early age, he secured a position with a power transmission company in Nelson, British Columbia, and his life in the machinery business had begun. His career in the forestry industry started in 1964 when he was offered an entry level job with Coutts Machinery in Edmonton, Alberta. Coutts was the BC/Alberta dealer for the rather prestigious Timberjack Skidder Company, a brand name that no longer exists. Over the next few years, George moved his family to several communities in the interior of British Columbia as he continued to polish his business skills, all the time never straying far from the successful Timberjack brand.

Change. Not Always The Best Answer
However, in the early 1960s, he opted to leave the heavy equipment world, and joined with his family in the hotel business in the Kootenays. But George quickly realized that this business was not for him. He had been bitten by the heavy equipment bug and in 1969 he moved back to Kamloops and then to Prince George as manager of Intermountain Equipment Company, interestingly enough… a Timberjack dealer. George was back home.

In 1972, the young, ambitious Mr. Anderson was scouted and hired by the much larger Finning Tractor Limited as territory manager of their Northern B.C. Koehring Division. Heavy equipment, yes… but construction along with some forestry. Just like the hotel business in the past, this turned out to not be an ideal fit either. Sort of like a size 8 boot on a size 10 foot. Soon, George found himself moving on, and in 1973 was hired by Interior Diesel and Equipment Ltd., in southeastern British Columbia, interestingly, another Timberjack dealer. In 1975, this ambitious company expanded their operations and purchased the Intermountain Equipment branch operations throughout the interior of British Columbia. George was really back home, and he asked to move his family to Kamloops, B.C. to manage the Kamloops branch of the newly expanded operation.

New Beginnings
But was there a silver lining to all the success that George Anderson had been experiencing? What resulted from all the moving, the different companies, the varied personalities and customers he had encountered, as well as the successes and failures along the way… it was preparing him for business ownership. In 1980, this dashing young businessman joined forces with his long-time friend Wayne Gilroy, and together they opened Woodland Heavy Equipment Parts Ltd. The company specialized in the purchase and sale of used and salvaged heavyequipment parts of which, you guessed it, Timberjack parts formed a substantive portion. It was a humble, but lucrative, operation in the sage hills west of Kamloops, but remember… from humble beginnings success will oft times flow.

It is said that to be successful in business you need both a strong business acumen and aggressive sales techniques. George and Wayne were therefore the perfect business partners. George was the checking-the-books business manager, and Wayne was the penultimate salesman. He loved the chase. Through the highs and lows of the business they never squabbled over who was going to be the leader, they were a team, pulling together. Wayne retired a couple of years ago and recently George has taken on three more minor partners, Craig Stanley and James Byrd, both long-term employees, as well as his son Don Anderson.

What Do Others Say?
When partner and company General Manager Craig Stanley was asked to describe some of the traits that have made George Anderson successful in business, the first thing he said was “George thinks outside the box, he’s unconventional. He is very good at gauging future business trends, he’s adaptive and that has made him a survivor.”

Asked about the success of the company, partner and Corporate Parts Manager James Byrd attributed it to the dedication of the large number of long-term employees and the company’s very loyal customer base. However, he quickly moved on to assign much of the success the company has enjoyed to George, “He just never gives up and he’s very outgoing. When he gets an idea he runs with it, he just doesn’t stop until he gets the results he desires. Additionally, he’s a great role model and mentor to the staff.”

Over the 35 years, Woodland Heavy Equipment Parts Ltd., later to be known as Woodland Equipment Inc. (, has experienced any number of company highs and lows, as well as expansions and contractions. But today, Woodland Equipment Inc. is firmly established as one of western Canada’s leading heavy-equipment dealers servicing the forestry, construction and resource industries. When asked to describe the company, George Anderson explained it this way, “We will never be the biggest but we work very hard to be the best.”

Today the company carries some of the most respected industry brands. Prestigious, familiar brand names like Peterson, Hyundai, Barko, Prime Tech and Gehl, in addition to a great selection of quality used equipment and parts.

Headquartered in Kamloops, British Columbia, literally a stone’s throw across the road from their original sage hills location, with successful branches in Vernon, Prince George, Cranbrook, and Fort St. John, the company is poised for success. A future of slow, steady growth, one or two new brands along with new branch considerations and an ever-increasing loyal customer base.

George… be careful when you are blowing out the candles on that 35th birthday cake.

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