After 20 years' selling Toro turfcare products for Hertfordshire dealer AT Oliver and Sons, John Cockburn has decided to leave the company to pursue other interests.
John's career in the turfcare industry spans 40 years and in that time he has always been a Toro man. He first started promoting the products in 1968 when they were imported by Flymo, subsequently working for various dealers before joining Kings Langley-based Oliver's in 1986.
Over the years John has played a significant role in transforming Toro in the UK from an unknown into one of the most recognisable and respected professional brands it is today. "It's been a fascinating journey," says John, "and quite exciting to be part of that transformation and growth. I have always been passionate about Toro and its quality, and that's essential when you're promoting a product.
"In 1968 I was part of a pioneering team promoting Toro in the UK, but it was hard work in those days as it was very new and customers were only interested in buying British. Then in '69 Toro brought out its first ride-on triple greensmower - the GM3. I unpacked the first prototype in the UK and then assisted in promoting this product as much as possible to prospective clients. Needless to say they were impressed. It was a very innovative product and exciting to be involved.
"Another milestone for me was when Toro introduced its fairway mowers, which effectively replaced traditional tractor-pulled gang mowers. This brought about a huge improvement in quality. Again, that's Toro innovation."
Jeff Anguige, Toro UK sales manger for distributor Lely, says: "John is a very well-known and respected figure in the turfcare industry and his contribution to the growth of Toro sales over the years has been dramatic. Oliver's is a very successful dealer and his enthusiasm and dedication to them and the Toro brand has been outstanding. We all wish him the best in his future career."