In reference to sales approach, Ross always counseled his distributors that carried multiple product lines, "You have to decide which horse you want to ride, based on the track conditions, etc. Once you choose that horse, you ride the best you can until the race is over." In other words, don't try to quote two competing brands to a customer. Decide which solution is the best, recommend and stick with it.
Like many, Ross started out his career in manufacturing as an apprentice and then journeyman machinist. He spent his first 15 years or so in his native Canada, before beginning his 28 year stint with Chiron America. Ross always took a logical and technical approach to everything and used his hands-on experience and machining background to help devise the best solution for the customer. An incredibly straight-shooter, you always knew where you stood with Ross and if his company didn't have a good solution (rare thought that might be), he would be the first to tell you. He would also tell you if he felt you were approaching the situation in a way he didn't agree with. Ross grew in his roles and responsibilities over the years, although he was at his most comfortable in front of the end-user. Near the end of his time with Chiron, he stayed on longer than he had planned to ensure a smooth and stable transition. A class act in every way.
Ross found his inspiration for manufacturing through happenstance. He learned his work ethic from his father. Ross helped his neighbor, Russell Baldwin, with odd jobs he didn’t have time for or on projects where Russell needed assistance. Russell became a shop foreman in a new plant start-up, and needed to hire multiple machinists. He asked Ross to consider joining. Ross explained that he needed to finish high school first since the plant was due to open in March, and graduation was months beyond that.
He wanted Ross so badly that he went to the high school principal and asked if they could come up with a solution. If Ross could achieve a high enough score, he could “test out of” his last couple months of school.
Ross tested out and started as an apprentice at Jarvis Clark in March of 1974. He learned and thrived in his new role to the point where he advanced quickly and even got the chance to help establish an apprenticeship program that didn’t exist and become the program’s first apprentice.
Marvin Schmidt apprenticed under Ross at McAvoy (Division of Smith International). Ross was not only a good teacher but also a wonderful mentor and role model. Because of Ross, Marv wanted to do what Ross was doing and grow and get into maintenance and sales on the CNC side. As fate would have it, he continued on as a machinist and continues to contribute in that way today, decades later.
Chiron America Charlotte NC (28 years)
2016-Present Senior Manager Automotive Sales
2006-2016 VP of Sales North America
1977-2006 Regional Sales Manager
1988-1997 Applications/Proposal Engineer
Williams & Wilson Toronto ON (10 years)
1985-1988 Machine Tool Applications and Service Manager (Toronto ON)
1980-1985 Western Division Manager (Edmonton AB)
1978-1980 Machine Tool Service Technician (Toronto ON)
Jarvis Clark North Bay ON (4 years)
1974-1978 Apprentice to Journeyman machinist
Machinist Apprentice Program Graduate