Jerry Ryan ends his storied trailer career at ILoca Services, Inc.
On April 6th 2018, Jerry Ryan, veteran of the trailer industry, retires. Jerry became a member of the ILoca family in January of 2014 but he has been in sales much longer. He first sold luggage and in 1979, sold a set to the regional sales manager for trailer manufacturer, Trailmobile. After working with Jerry, the manager remarked, “You need to come down and talk to me.” Jerry figured, “Well I am already selling boxes on wheels. What’s so different about a trailer? To this day if I saw him again I don’t know if I’d kick him or kiss him,” he says with a grin. And so, a trailer salesman was born.
In his life before trailers, Jerry supported himself as a writer and journalist. He has been published in Windy City Sports, The Courier Sun, St. Martin’s Press and is a published poet.
“So both sides of my brain work.” He quips.
With a degree in history and a degree in economics he says that if he hadn’t found his way to trailer sales he’d probably have been a teacher and continued to write.
When he jumped into the transportation industry, an early lesson learned was to look at the equipment you are selling in the way the user will see it. “I was selling a used piece of equipment and I wasn’t describing the equipment the way it should have been described to an old trailer guy. He grabbed me by the shoulder, pinched my neck and said, ‘Come on down here.’ He showed me what was going on with the suspension. ‘The next time you call me about a trailer make sure you look at this.’ he said”. Once was all it took.
Jerry remarked that what surprised him most about working in the industry was “Actually the people.
The industry has a certain camaraderie where everyone knows everybody else. Whether you’re sitting on one side of the sales desk or one side of the service bay. Everybody moves around within the industry and your reputation precedes you. It’s a brotherhood; a fraternity in the truest sense, which is kinda nice. He describes the best thing that has happened over the years as the friendships he has made along the way. “Not acquaintances but true friends for 40 years. That’s pretty important. Someone you would trust enough to go ahead and let them hold your wallet – and I will always do that because there is nothing ever in my wallet.”
Our conversation takes a more serious turn when asked about the worst thing he has encountered throughout the years. “Our business is cyclical and when the business goes south, the business goes south. I’ve had times where I couldn’t give equipment away.”
He goes on to offers an insight into trailers being a leading indicator for the economy.
“When business is good, goods need to be moved and they have to go on trailers. When business is bad, nothing is moving. We go out first and we come back last. No matter what the other indicators are, when we’re good. The industry in general is good, all of our industries are good.”
He has seen technology have a profound effect on the industry as well. “With more and more reliance on tech, especially in the food service with refrigeration, you must adapt with the times or you will get left behind.”
Regarding his tenure at ILoca; “It’s hard for me to narrow it down to a favorite person or experience. As a whole it’s why we have a low turn around in employees. I like everyone here; I like what I’m doing. It’s unusual to work for an organization that is aggressive and at the same time not mean-spirited. We’re here to help people. We’re all here to help people and each other.” Jerry says it was a difficult to make the decision to retire, but after much deliberation he decided he wanted to take time to pursue some of his other varied interests.
The very first thing he plans on doing is “Sleeping in… until 7 o’clock.”
He also plans on continuing his education and taking classes on things he enjoys such as conversational French, music theory, more writing classes, all things he has wanted to do for a while that bring joy post-sales. Remembering a creativity class he once took, he says what stuck with him all these years was “Start less and finish more. I don’t have to do that; I can do whatever I want.” He has trips planned to the west coast, Hawaii, and taking the train through the Rockies from Canada.
“ILoca has been the perfect place to complete my career.”
“If you’re in the situation where you can help someone and make a buck doing it, who does that hurt? I’ve been able to help a lot of my customers and you send a thank you letter when you’re done. They remember you because you took care of them; ILoca took care of them and they come back to you.” Jerry believes that luck brought him here, and as a Sagittarius, he would rather be lucky than smart.
After 40 years in the industry, we are going to miss Jerry. He has bought and sold semitrailers, worked as a full service-leasing salesmen, sold transport refrigeration, worked for smaller companies and startups, owned businesses. Sold over head doors to the industry all over the country and the world. He will be taking with him the highly confidential true meaning of ILoca. And he will be leaving a storied career, as well as co-workers who are glad to have worked beside him, learned from him, and who are sad to see him go. We will miss his classic Jerry laugh echoing down the sales hallway. He is a renaissance man.
Everyone at ILoca is looking forward to hearing and reading about Jerry’s continued adventures and all wish him the best of luck.