Bill was born and raised in Ridgetown, Ontario, Canada. He completed his formal education at the University of Guelph with an Honors degree in Science, University of Toronto with an Honors degree in Mechanical Engineering, and did his post graduate work at the School of Business, York University in Toronto, Canada.
Bill started his working career with John Deere in Canada as a Design Engineer. He joined the Allis-Chalmers Company in Guelph, Ontario in 1963, in the fork lift truckâ€“ construction machinery division. The work assignments for Allis-Chalmers were in Canada, four years in Chicago and special assignments in Mexico, France and England. He achieved the position of Vice-President and General Manager of Allis-Chalmers in Canada in 1974. While working with Allis-Chalmers in 1966, Bill attended his first Industrial Truck Association meeting working with the General Engineering Committee in an attempt to harmonize Canadian Fork lift standards with the existing ANSI B56 USA standard.
In 1975, Bill and a group of investors acquired the assets of the Kenhar Company in Brampton, Ontario. In the following 22 years this small Canadian Fork manufacturing company grew internally and through acquisitions, successfully acquiring 16 competitive operations. This resulted in the formation of the largest fork manufacturing company globally with manufacturing facilities in Canada, USA, England, Sweden, France, Italy, Korea, Japan and finally, China.
In 1997, the Kenhar Company was sold to Cascade Corporation. In 1999, Bill and associates acquired the mast manufacturing business of Cascade, in the USA and Europe. The Lift Technologies Company acquired the Elecar mast manufacturing business in Italy in 2001, resulting in Lift-Tec Elecar Company. Lift-Tec Elecar was sold to an Italian supplier to the company in 2008. The company achieved fourfold growth in this time period with the development of new generations of multiple stage masts, extra high lift container handling equipment and multiple purpose integral products.
Words to describe Bill's approach to business would certainly be; international, established high credibility, integrity, and people oriented, following with this thought; Larry Wuench; Executive V.P. of Caterpillar and Mitsubishi once referred to Bill as "high mileage Harrison" because of his commitment to business. Certainly we all know him as a proud Canadian.
Bill has been fortunate to be involved with the Industrial Truck Association throughout his entire working career in the Lift Truck business having served twice as the Chairman of the Suppliers Committee and twice as Chairman of the Canada Committee and was instrumental in having the Canada Committee formed. The Canada Committee was an extension of the previous Industrial Truck Association of Canada, of which Bill had been the founding President in 1967.
Bill resides in the Guelph, Ontario area of Canada where he lives with his wife, Donna.
Bill's interests outside of the material handling business include spending time with his family and ever growing clan at their beloved cottage in Georgian Bay, Ontario; boating during the summer. Canadian winter weekends will most often find Bill and his family skiing in Collingwood, Ontario. Bill enjoys golf, is an avid fine wine collector, with a passion for collecting and restoring British sports cars. Music for Bill tops the list; whether he's playing his trumpet or fugal horn, Bill is known for his eclectic tastes; from Armstrong to Clapton along many in between.
Bill is the recipient of several awards of recognition for his career and his work. In particular; The Meritorious Service Award from the Industrial Truck Association for his service to the Materials Handling Industry; Bill was the first Canadian to ever receive this award as well as being the only Supplier Associate Member to ever be bestowed the honour. Bill was also selected as the recipient of the 2012 U of G School of Engineering Medal of Achievement in October 2012.
The lifetime Contribution Award from the Chinese Industrial Truck Association and Chines Government for distinguished service in developing the domestic Material Handling Industry in China. Bill was the first non-Chinese citizen to ever receive this award /recognition.