After nearly 23 years with the company, Brian Macleod, senior vice president of Gillig LLC, the Hayward, Calif.-based bus manufacturer, retired at the end of March. He began his career with the company in 1987 as vice president, sales and marketing.
Early on, he worked to improve the company's recognition and reputation, as it was relatively new in the transit market at the time, he said. Macleod achieved this by networking and getting involved in the industry and with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), as well as working to improve the company's products and customer service. "You need to listen to the customer and find out what they really want in a product," Macleod said.
In addition to increasing sales for the company and satisfying customers, Macleod explained that his role with the company began to focus more on building customer relationships and responding to the changing needs of the industry.
When assessing his time in the industry, he said the most profound changes over the years have been the growing complexity of the product and the sophistication of the new technologies. Another significant change Macleod noted was the improved relationship between suppliers and buyers from adversarial to cooperative.
Macleod said he is proudest of the reputation and respect the company has garnered in the industry. "I feel that Gillig is now in a very strong position; we have fantastic relationships with our customers and vendors, great products and effective business strategies — overall the future is bright," he said.
Looking toward the transportation industry's future, Macleod said he would like "to see the industry get to a point where the general public fully appreciates what it does, and is willing to fund it to do its job better; after all, transit improves the environment, the economy and mobility, and also creates good old American jobs."
Post-retirement, Macleod plans on spending more time with family and friends as well as going on a tour of the national parks.