Wrong Side of the Tracks- Story of Tim Galbraith

Published Jun 12, 2023 | Posted in Cavalier, Culture, Industry, Manufacturing, News, People, Technology, Workplace Culture

As TimGalbraith takes his last lap on his successful, interesting, and gratifying career, he reflects on what brought him to this point.  Tim will attest that he grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and had to really make some changes in his life to succeed.

Everything can be accomplished when you set your mind to it. That is the motto that Tim has lived by for over 40 years.  This story will detail the accomplishments of Tim and the role that Cavalier played in the last venture in a great career.

First let’s learn a little about Tim as a young lad.  If you have spent time in London, Ontario you will know the acronym EOA, or East of Adelaide. Some may call this the bad side of town. His family has been in Canada since before we even became a country.  The first Galbraith landed around the year 1850. He was originally of Scottish descent, the Galbraith Clan. Culcreuch Castle was built by a Galbraith and in operation as a beautiful hotel until very recently. It is no longer owned by the family; it unfortunately was seized by the crown because the family fell on the wrong side of the Scottish Revolt.   See Wikipedia page on Culcreuch Castle.

Mom came over after the second world war and settled in the London area. https://www.culcreuch.com/


Let’s look into Tim’s entry into the world of manufacturing.


Tim attended high school in London and after graduation attended The University of  Western Ontario, but never finished as he had a different path to follow at that point in his life.  It was the 70’s and there was not the same focus on education as there is today.  Tim took Business and Science, he did well but Western did not grab his interest at the time.  The tall and friendly Tim worked as a bouncer at the university pub, but we are not going to share any of those stories here.


Tim worked at a local factory in the summer in high school and university.  The company was Somerville Industries Ltd.  After University, Tim started fulltime at Somerville and  this was his Introduction to the manufacturing business.  He made enough money to have a sweet van, an awesome record collection (which he still has) and spending money to boot. 1 ½ years at the manufacturing facility working full time caused Tim to reflect on his life.  Tim thought there was something different for him, he had an epiphany and this started his path to an interesting and successful career.


Tim started looking for any job that was not in a factory and that led to a job as an Order Desk Clerk at an industrial supply company.  He took a big pay cut but wanted to try something different.   For the first time in his working career, he had purpose in his life. Tim strived to improve himself and set goals spent and all day, every day reading every brochure that he could get his hands on.  Thousands of pages of industrial catalogs were combed through and Tim quickly became an encyclopedia of information.


After a year, he was offered a job as a salesman. This led him to move to Hamilton.  According to Tim, he was probably the worst salesman on the face of the earth.  Tim was shipped off to sales school in Quebec, 6 days a week 12 hours a day for two months. This was a bootcamp for salespeople and Tim fondly says he  applied himself, there was a lot of room for improvement. He received the award for the most improved, kind of like Miss Congeniality of the Sales World.


After his training he was transferred down to Windsor to be the branch manager.  People saw potential in Tim and he was groomed to be a Senior Manager in the company. He did not want to move to Windsor upon first hearing the news, Windsor’s reputation was not great in 1981.  He was told to spend 5 years down here, earning his stripes. Tim was the only manager with facial hair in the company (which was taboo), fair to say there was still a rebel side to him.  Windsor and Essex County became home to Tim and he eventually became one of our biggest supporters.  Tim has sat on numerous boards and committees promoting the Manufacturing sector and the Windsor-Essex community.


The mold industry and Big Three were his main customers at Williams & Wilson.  A decade later, they wanted him to move to Toronto to work in head office, he said NO.  He wanted to stay in Windsor.  Tim tried his own business for a bit but when a former customer – Basic Tool – called him up he started working part time for the mold company.  Quickly he realized that there were no professional salespeople in the mold business and that was a market that was ready for the taking.  Often the salespeople were not the best employees, usually a relative or a friend of the owners.  1991 Tim started working full time being a salesman for a Basic Tool.  Officially his job description was a cat herder and he ended up performing a variety of tasks and helped Basic grow significantly. Tim worked there for over 20 years and really pushed for change and growth.


Then the big move to Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing.  Tim joined as the Sales Manager and for 9 years, he helped Cavalier transform into the company it is today. Tim introduced several sales techniques, policies, and strategies to Cavalier to help Brian Bendig push the envelope even further than he was already pushing it. He oversaw the transition from a sales team of one sales rep, one estimator and three Program Managers into a professional, deep and skilled team of six regional sales representatives, a larger estimating & feasibility team and six program managers.

Tim now tells us about selling for a company like Cavalier.
Tim says that he felt like he won the lottery by coming to Cavalier.  It was a sense of belonging to something that is greater than selling molds, it was an environment of a group working together to build something great for our employees, our industry, and our community.  No idea is stupid, everything is considered.  The level of technology adoption and willingness to embrace the latest manufacturing advances was part of the corporate DNA. Cavalier had spindle monitoring software on the machines when nobody else did. Tim says he went from the Flintstones to the Jetsons.


Market diversity has always been a hallmark of Cavalier which translates into a significant footprint in Recreational products, Commercial products, Housewares and Heavy Truck while still maintaining a foothold in Automotive.


Cavalier has always made quite an impression at Trade Shows.  Tim gives us some background.
Trade shows are a key component to the Cavalier marketing plan. Cavalier has performance metrics that are monitored to gauge how effective each show is. ROI is a KPI that guides show behaviour. When we started, we took plastic parts like everyone else did, everyone talked about cranes, machines, molds, and trucks. Cavalier has (and still is) evolving,  we are different and our trader show offerings reflected that difference. Implimentation of a digital digital marketing strategy became a reality as we grew in size and scope.  Our digital footprint grew, our reach grew and so did our reputation.

We became a known entity and people wanted to come and see us.  We went to Europe with no parts and no machines.  Just a hockey setup complete with Team Cavalier jerseys and a hockey net.  At PTXPO we had a race car in the middle of our booth and a checkered flag floor. Speed to market was our theme. Now everyone wants to see our booth.  To see what we have come up with next.

There are three pillars of our company – People, Process & Equipment. People are always number one, process is number two and equipment is number three.  The bread and butter of our industry is steel molds.  We make stuff that lets other people produce stuff.  We also do structural foam, aluminum, gas counter pressure and stack molds.

One of the interesting hobbies that Tim picked up later in life was scuba diving.  At the ripe old age of 55 he decided to tackle something off his bucket list.  He was able to be like a Superman, flying through the water (might be closer to Aquaman).  Over a few years Tim moved from being a recreational diver on to many challenging levels including the following: Advanced Open Water, Deep Diver, Nitrox Certified, Wreck Diver, Rescue Diver, Dry Suit, Peak Performance Buoyancy and Master Scuba Diver.  Tim has explored some of the coolest spots on the planet from the Philippines, to the Federated States of Mirconesia, the Bahamas, Mexico and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The two books on Tim’s bedside table right now.

Right now, the two business books are Good to Great and There Is No Room for Ego.  The personal side that is a bit of brain candy is whatever trashy novel series of the day that is on his Kindle. Tim seems to go through Kindles like disposable cutlery. It is possible that Tim has the world record for most Kindles lost while travelling.

Tim’s better half Sharon.

To be successful in the Sales and Business world you need the strong support of a solid partner at home.  If your spouse gets jealous of your job then you will have problems. Well, the story of Tim and Sharon is cut perfectly out of a romance novel as they have been together since the early 70’s. Sharon has always been a good listener, an excellent wife, and a great mother.  They met when Sharon was in Grade 8 and Tim was in Grade 10.  A double ride on Tim’s bike qualifies as a second date.  They started formally going steady in December of 1971.

Two of the things that bring him the most pride are his daughters,  Amanda and Liz. Amanda has been involved in politics for many years and started up in Ottawa and has settled in Toronto. She has a weekly appearance on AM 800 Friday afternoons discussing politics.  Navigator is her full-time gig.  Amanda also does Power and Politics for CTV.   Liz in the insurance world,  All State to be specific, she is an Ontario Ombudsmen.  Liz is the smartest one in the family, the take charge organizer who gets things done.

Two people that had the most influence on Tim’s career.

Jim Burrows was my manager when I began selling machine tools, a thoroughly professional salesman, he worked at the head office in Toronto and helped Tim a lot in his career. He learned a lot from Jim over the years, specifically how to handle the tough decisions.  Jim was a mentor long after leaving Williams and Wilson.

Late in life, Brian Bendig recruited Tim to join the #CavalierArmy. While Tim had learned about molds and manufacturing from his two decades at Basic Tool, Bendig was the one that gave him the opportunity to truly grow. That opportunity and Brian’s trust allowed Tim to push some boundaries in exceeding sales targets of Cavalier while also adding more cool stuff to his utility belt!  Brian is one of those entrepreneurs that makes every day interesting and pushes the proverbial envelope.

Tim vehemently states that his father was his mentor in life.