Geçtiğimiz günlerde Toro Başkan Yardımcısı Bill Brown İstanbul’daydı. Bill Brown’ın Türkiye’ye gelme sebebi oldukça ilginç. Bill Brown, Toro Türkiye Distribütörü Golf International firması başkanı Bora Yenigün ile Toro distribütörlük anlaşması yaparken iddaya girer. Bu iddaaya göre Golf International, 1 yıl içinde üzerinde uzlaşılan rakam kadar satış yaparsa, Bill Brown gelip İstanbul’da yemek ısmarlayacaktır. Bil Brown, Golf International’ın bu hedefi 6’cı ayda yakalaması üzerine yemek ısmarlamak için özel bir ziyaret gerçekleştirir… Biz de bu sıcak ortamda Toro Başkan Yardımcısı Bill Brown ile İstanbul ziyareti sırasında golf sektörü üzerine sohbet ettik.
Who is Bill Brown?
Bill Brown is Group Vice President, Commercial and Irrigation Businesses for The Toro Company located near Minneapolis, Minnesota in the United States of America. Bill joined The Toro Company in 1993 as marketing manager of Toro’s Wheel Horse lawn and garden tractor business. Over the years, he held manager and director positions in Toro’s Landscape Contractor Business and served as its general manager for two years.
From 2003 through 2006 he served as vice president and general manager of Toro’s growing commercial business that provides innovative solutions to customers in the golf and sports fields & grounds (SF&G) markets. During these years, Toro introduced a number of new products that helped Toro’s golf customers increase their productivity and enhance the appearance of their courses. Toro also launched a major initiative resulting in improved levels of service delivered through their distributor network.
In November 2006, Bill assumed leadership of the company’s Residential and Landscape Contractor businesses which included both Toro and
Lawn-Boy branded products. In late 2010, he returned to Toro’s golf business as the vice president of their International business. Recently, in
March 2013, Bill was named Group Vice President for Toro’s Commercial and Irrigation businesses. In this role, Bill is responsible for Toro’s North American golf business in addition to the SF&G segment and Residential/Commercial irrigation business. Bill received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from Princeton University, where he graduated cum l aude. H e h olds a n M BA f rom t he H arvard Graduate School of Business Administration. Before joining Toro he worked in manufacturing for Proctor & Gamble and later in marketing for General Mills. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife and three boys. Overview of The Toro Company The Toro Motor Company got its start in 1914 building tractor engines for The Bull Tractor Company. Although established as an independent company, the name “Toro” was chosen due to the company’s association with Bull Tractor. (Toro is the Spanish word for bull.) Just before the devastating U.S. farm depression hit in 1920, Toro began an important transition from farm equipment to turf management. It was then, in 1919, at the request of The Minikahda Club in Minnesota, that Toro created a new mechanized mowing unit to replace horse-drawn equipment typically used by golf courses. This innovation soon won favor throughout the industry and helped establish Toro as the leader in the industry. By 1928, Toro golf and grounds equipment could be found at leading venues worldwide. Nearing our 100th anniversary in 2014, an important milestone for any company, Toro continues
focus on key principles that have been a constant driver in its success over the last century – a commitment to building trusted relationships and
constant innovation to help our customers better care for their outdoor environments. As Kenneth Goit, the company’s third president put it, “The success of this company is no secret. It has been due to two simple things: building a good product and treating customers honestly and fairly…the only way to success is by the fair and honest treatment of customers.” Over the years, we have strengthened our position
as a leading worldwide provider of innovative turf, landscape, rental and construction equipment, and irrigation and outdoor lighting solutions. Supported by a strong network of professional distributors, dealers and retailers in more than 90 countries, our products are used to care for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, and agricultural fields. As customers demand cutting-edge technologies that yield performance, productivity and environmental benefits, we continue to advance our efforts with water-saving irrigation products to help customers use this critical resource more efficiently – in addition increasing fuel efficiency
and reducing emissions through propane, biofuels, hybrid, advanced battery, electronic fuel injection, and hydrogen fuel cell technologies. Today our micro irrigation business is our fastest growing business. As water becomes even more valuable and a limited resource, we see the agricultural markets demanding even more efficient means to apply water to their crops. Turkey is a good example of a market that is seeing a rapid expansion of the use of micro (or drip) irrigation. Toro Statistics Toro is a global leader in the golf (turf maintenance equipment & irrigation) industry and we are honored by the trust customers put in our people and products. The entire company is very close to
$2 Billion in annual turnover. We spilt our company into two primary segments: professional and residential. We have purposefully transformed the company over the last twenty years to be more of a professional products focused company. We are now 68% professional products and this is where the golf equipment and irrigation products reside. We continue to grow internationally and roughly a third of our sales are now outside of the United Sates. We believe that this percentage will continue to grow as international markets continue to grow at a f aster r ate. I nternationally, E MEA ( Europe, Middle East & Africa) is our largest market, but we also have substantial businesses in Asia, Australia,
Canada and Latin America.
Green keepers decribe brands like red, orange, green etc. Which color is good and why?
At Toro, we naturally believe Toro “Red” is best. It has to do with our long, proud history of providing the finest, most innovative, and high performance equipment and services in the business, supported by local distributors who provide prompt expert service. Toro created the golf-powered equipment business back in 1919 with the development of the first tractor specifically designed to mow golf
courses. We quickly expanded our product offerings to include greens mowers, tee mowers, top dressers, irrigation equipment and much more. By 1925, we had become the largest golf equipment manufacturer in the world – and have continued to grow through the years due to our relentless commitment to innovation and customer service. Today, we have the largest selection of any supplier for golf course maintenance equipment and irrigation systems. We always ask greens keepers about problems they experience in the field that we can help solve in future innovations or product enhancements. They are looking for ways to be more productive and we belive that Toro products provide the greatest productivity solutions in the industry. That is the secret behind the success of Toro “Red”.
Generally what do you hear about Turkey in current days in US?
Turkish golf development has been given a new direction by the government. There are restrictions for building new courses in Antalya, to insure preservation of natural resources. However, there will be new areas targeted for golf development in the country which will help grow the game. We see new opportunities and a good number of golf tourists interested in visiting Turkey. Turkey offers excellent packages, and many Western European golf tourists come to play in late autumn and winter. Turkey continues to grow economically and that should help drive increases in the number of domestic g olfers a nd g olf c ourse d emand. We have seen this happen in many countries. Golf is a sport that is now played in almost every country in the world and the number of players continues to rise. It is a sport with a rich history based on sportsmanship and integrity. With golf becoming an Olympic sport in 2016, there will be even more interest in the sport which will be good for all associated
with the game.
If we know correctly Toro was the first brand in Turkish Golf history but during the golf boom in the mid 1990’s something was not bright. How about today?
Toro is proud to be the first partner of the oldest Turkish golf courses in Antalya and Istanbul. Now, as the market is more mature, we see these partnerships continuing with most of the golf courses in Turkey. They have experience with Toro products and appreciate the reliability, durability and innovation of Toro products. Recently, Maxx Royal, Tat Golf, Cornelia, and Gloria all decided to partner with Toro for their product needs.
We heared that you have been in Turkey 2 times in one year. Is it for business purpose only?
Turkey is an important market for Toro, and with Golf International being our new distributor, I wanted to make sure that they were servicing the golf courses to Toro standards. Toro has always made a point of having direct contact with our customers to understand their needs and to build strong and long-lasting relationships. This has been, and will always be, a great part of Toro’s success and business credo. I have been in Turkey, with our distributor Golf International, to meet many customers and hear firsthand about their needs regarding products and service support. I heard how nice the courses were in Turkey, and was even more impressed to see them in person. Additionally, I really appreciated the hospitality of the people and the wonderful Turkish food that I was able to sample during my visits.
What do you think course maintenance quality of Turkey golf?
The quality of the golf courses in Turkey is on a very high level. The maintenance is very professional and we are very proud that Toro is considered as a valuable asset for Turkish greens keepers, helping them achieve the highest industry standards. It’s easy to see why so many golf tourists return year after year!
Your distristibutor Golf International is very old company in business and they were your competitors untill late 2010. How about transition?Do you think they integrated to Toro easly?
Having Golf International as our distributor in Turkey is one of the greatest decisions both companies made. We are very happy with their high level of professionalism, their dedicated sales team and after-sales support. Additionally, they are very dedicated to golf and have a great spirit. The transition was very smooth, and we immediately saw positive results. We have put all our efforts into supporting the Golf International team for all their needs. We are looking forward to having many successful years together and meet the new opportunities the market will offer. As golf begins to grow in a number of the nearby countries, we believe that Golf International will be able to provide the same level of support for courses in those markets.
Any other information?
I think that the future is bright for Turkish golf, and Toro is very proud to be associated with so many of the finest courses in the country. We will
continue to work hard to help our customers be successful.