Ever Transforming

Brian Reh
| Dec 13, 2017

1980. The Empire Strikes Back is released. Ronald Reagan is Time’s “person of the year”. And, of course, David Butwid starts his Gorbel® career. That’s right. Our legendary customer servant began at Gorbel® 37 years ago. At that time, Gorbel® was humbly supporting 12 employees with its sole product line of structural Jib Cranes selling through a handful of distributors in the USA. Today our global team is well over 400 people and offers gravity defying solutions across the Industrial, Safety, and Medical fields. Wow, what a run it has been!

In today’s fast-paced world, Gorbel® is always in transition. One of those transitions about to take place is David Butwid’s retirement at the end of 2017. And with that milestone a host of other leadership changes will coincide that I am proud to share with you.

First off, I want to pause and recognize David. He served as General Manager at Gorbel® much of his career and has been a key catalyst in finding and implementing all things “new”; Workstation Cranes, G-Force®, our China business…just to name a few. He is a staunch advocate for the customer with a steadfast commitment to ensure we are delivering value. In his most recent role as VP of Sales, Marketing and Customer Service, David preaches Speed, Responsiveness, and Reliability day in, day out. And, of course, you can’t ever leave out the word “fun” when it comes to describing David. His smile and a steady flow of silly antics make him a one-of-a-kind. I can’t thank David enough for his decades of devotion to our customers, our team, and our mission to Improve People’s Lives.

Rather than just find a direct successor for David’s role, we took time to question if this was an opportunity to better organize our team for the Gorbel® of the future. Countless scenarios and ideas were processed and challenged. And in the end I am extremely excited about the changes we are putting forth. At the heart of these changes lies a desire to move some key Operational skillsets closer to our external customers. That said, our plan is to create two new Vice President (VP) roles to replace David’s role as VP of Sales, Marketing and Customer Service. These new roles and the people who will fill them are shared below:

VP Sales and Customer Experience – this role will lead the disciplines of Sales, Customer Service and Application Engineering (AE) (which used to be under the VP Operations role). Our AE team lives side by side Customer Service to creatively develop special applications of our products. By streamlining AE under a common leader, we intend to deliver faster, higher quality experiences to our external customers. David Pritchard (current VP Operations) will take on this position. David has been with Gorbel® over 2 years and brings over 30 years of multi-disciplined leadership from the Automotive and Medical fields. AND…his demonstrated commitment to continuous improvement while living the Gorbel® values is second to none (must be the Eagle Scout in him!). Tyler Brown (current Manufacturing Director) will succeed David in the VP Operations role.

VP Marketing and Innovation – this role will lead the disciplines of Marketing and Product Development (PD) (which used to be under the VP Operations role). PD at Gorbel® is not only where our super smart engineers create future products for Gorbel®, but also where all things CraneBrain® come from. By positioning this A-team at Marketing’s side, we believe we can increase our pace of projects as well as increase customer intimacy (which will result in more opportunities to create gravity-defying products and services!...and who can frown on that?!). Jeff McNeil (currently Marketing Director) will take on this new role. Jeff has been with Gorbel® over 24 years…starting as one of Gorbel®’s first Sales Reps before leading all things Marketing. Jeff’s passion for customers runs crazy deep. And his consistent questions of “what problem are we solving?” and “what opportunity can we capture?” consistently echo Gorbel®’s halls. Rob Beightol (current Product Marketing Manager) will succeed Jeff in the Marketing Director role.

So bring on 2018. We are ever transforming at Gorbel®. As we close out 2017 and reflect on its accomplishments (like celebrating our 40th anniversary, launching the GS Electric Chain Hoist line, or adding dozens of new “A Class Above” employees), I am resting well knowing that our focus on the customer is unwavering. We know we’re not perfect. And we have a profound curiosity to understand our weaknesses and opportunities to better serve the world. Gorbel® legends like David Butwid have been instrumental in sowing these traits into our fabric so that the generations that follow can continue to Improve People’s Lives in new and better ways. Thank you, David Butwid. Thank you, team Gorbel®, for a remarkable 2017. And thank you to all the loyal Gorbel® customers out there for trusting us with your business. We are excited to serve you in 2018 and beyond.


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  1. Bill Hair | Jan 10, 2018
    26 Years ago I met Dave Butwid in between flights out of Chicago for a lunch meeting. He talked me into representing Gorbel and that was the best business decision that I have ever made. Indeed what a ride it has been. Thanks Dave and good luck!
  2. Ian Dyson | Jan 02, 2018

    Dear Dave,

    You have had a stellar career at Gorbel and your passion for Gorbel products and innovation is second to none.  Gorbel has certainly prospered from your dedication.  

    I remember meeting you during my first week at Safetech in April 1997 at the Materials Handling Exhibition in Sydney where we launched Gorbel Workstation Cranes in Australia.  You showed us how to erect the Workstation Crane built by Gorbel and sent over for the show.

    And sitting around your laptop till about 1.30am in the morning absorbing the terms GLC, GLCS, Enclosed Track, Composite Wheels and 2 degree taper has been etched into my brain for ever.  It was overload at the time, but the basis of all our Gorbel Sales. 

    Best wishes to you and Linda in your retirement.

    Ian Dyson

    Safetech Pty Ltd, Australia

  3. Annette Milligan | Dec 20, 2017

    Congratulations on an outstanding career,David. My best to you and Linda.

    Annette Milligan

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