A generous smile and a captivating personality are hallmarks of retired Ritchie CEO, Leon Yantis. Yantis worked at Ritchie for 30 years from 1988 to 2018 doing jobs from working the factory floor to eventually being promoted to CEO. Yantis is the de facto Ritchie historian and can tell you just about anything you’d want to know about Ritchie. When asked about any unique sales memories, Yantis immediately thought about a colorful Canadian customer.
“Years ago, at a trade show in Canada, one of our sales representatives noticed a burly farmer making a beeline for the Ritchie booth – this guy had on his heavy boots, flannel jacket and flannel hat with the ear flaps. He looked tough as nails and he was moving with a purpose. That farmer walks right up to our sales rep and says ‘I just bought one of these Ritchie Omni waterers last year and I am so happy with it. I mean that stainless steel is so thick on it that I can’t even break it with an axe.’
Now, the sales rep was confused and asked, ‘why are you breaking ice with an axe?’ Well, that farmer says, ‘I live in Northern Canada’, as if that explained everything. The sales rep looked at the farmer and asked, ‘doesn’t your heater work?’. The farmer’s eyes got really wide and he said, ‘it’s got a heater?’
Now everybody got a good laugh out of that and the sales rep showed him how to hook up the heater. This farmer left the booth even happier with his Ritchie purchase and we had quite the funny story to tell.”