Bruce W. Tillinghast

Machine Tool Distributor

Bruce W. Tillinghast

Machine Tool Distributor

I leave the World of Iron with a pot of Gold!

I was introduced to machine tools at a young age as my father’s business partner was an established toolmaker and inventor. On Saturday mornings at the ripe age of 10, I was given the chance to operate a Warner & Swasey turret lathe. I was fascinated, much like I was with firearms, in the metal working machinery.

During my closing years at the University of Cincinnati, I was again given the chance to work with machine tools when I had an apprenticeship at Cincinnati Gear Company. During this summer program I became determined to pursue a career in machine tool sales. I began to look at my options in the industry and hoping to remain in Cincinnati, and with my father’s guidance, discovered The Walker Machinery Company. Ironically, it was located right across the street from Cincinnati Gear.

William L. Walker was a warm and patient soul and was looking for some young blood to sell machines tools. I was honored to be hired as a young salesman at “Walker Machinery Company” in Cincinnati Ohio, one of the oldest and best-known Machine Tool Distributors in the Midwest USA. I was also fortunate to be trained by two of the best – Bill Walker and Logan Hardy.

Southern Ohio sales in the mid 1980’s was the beginning of a fulfilling career. I was passionate about my job, our company, our suppliers and customers. After beginning as a young salesman, I was given the opportunity to be a partner in purchasing Walker Machinery.

During the early 1990’s Walker Machinery began an import division called Pilsen Imports. This company imported, sold, and serviced VTL’s manufactured by Toshulin in the Czech Republic. This “right place at right time” decision proved to be the best risk reward investment for our partnership and the team who ran the division. We had significant success for decades in this venture, along with a wonderful relationship with our supplier TOSHULIN.

The 2000’s were a decade of swift and vast change in the industry including, the digital era, and an evolution of machine tool logistics that I was not accustomed too early in my career. I had to adapt and meet our customer demands along with growing our customer service entity.

There have been many evolutions in the machine tool industry during my career. However, the constants such as the trusting relationships I made, the technological innovations created, and the “raw” sound of metal being machined are what contributed to my enthusiasm to enjoy my profession, to motivate me to be successful and to give me hope that the US Machine Tool Industry will continue to flourish in the future.

Career Inspiration

James A. D. Geier Cincinnati Milacron
His passion for the industry was infectious!

Career History

First sales position in Ohio for Midway Machinery Grand Rapids MI, June 1981 

Started my “real” Machine Tool Career in September of 1984 as Sales Engineer for Walker Machinery Company in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Vice President and then President and sole owner over time.  

Started Pilsen Imports in May of 1997 as a special importer of VTL’s in the USA with my business partner Peter A. Borden.

Retired from Pilsen & Walker Machinery on December 23rd 2021.


University of Cincinnati School of Arts & Sciences, Economics    1975-1979

Informal Training:

University of Alabama Birmingham, Industrial Distribution 



Head of Distributor Advisory Council “DAC”  for Minster Machine Company, 1998.  

Salesman of the Year, Warner & Swasey, 1989.


Lee Morris