“Ritchie Bros. were professional, courteous, and compassionate”
Douglas Cook built his business from nothing into one of the largest forestry companies in New England. He started his company in the 1970s while still in high school, then graduated from university with degrees in Forestry and Civil Engineering and expanded his business further.
The company grew, reaching 17 employees at its peak, and began working on land clearing projects for airports, railroads, highways, utility ROWs, golf courses, and new construction. Unfortunately, after successfully running his business for 35 years, Doug died suddenly and unexpectedly in March 2018, leaving the company to his wife, Diane (pictured above with Ritchie Bros. Regional Operations Manager Mark Leone).
“After Doug passed, I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I didn’t want to let go all of his employees—many of whom had worked with him longer than I knew him,” said Diane Cook. “I stepped up and ran the company for another 3 years before I realized it was time for me to retire.”
“Knowing how much equipment Doug bought from Ritchie Bros. over the years, I turned to them to help me in retirement,” added Diane. “But I still hadn’t informed our employees and was very nervous about keeping it confidential. Thankfully Ritchie Bros. were professional, courteous, and compassionate to my situation.”
“Ritchie Bros. really hit a grand slam for my family”
After speaking with employees, Diane and her team began working closely with Ritchie Bros. to get set up for their auction, which would be held on the Cook property in Upton, MA.
“Very quickly we developed a great working relationship with the Ritchie Bros. team, which was so important because they were climbing all over our equipment and shop,” said Diane. “It was pretty hard to hand over the keys to Ritchie Bros. for the first time, but when I came back after the weekend, I saw how hard they had worked and how much they accomplished. I realized I just had to step back and let them do it. It was scary at first, but they certainly earned my respect and admiration.”
By auction day Ritchie Bros. had lined up approximately 100 machines and 300 pallets of small items to sell, with every item being sold without minimum bids or reserve prices. Highlights included a 2017 Peterson 5710D crawler horizontal grinder that sold for US$580,000; a 2014 Peterson 4310B crawler drum wood chipper that sold for US$415,000; and a 2010 TimberPro TL725B crawler tilter feller buncher that sold for US$177,500.
“The day before the auction I was feeling very nervous. In fact, the night before I don’t think I slept at all,” said Diane. “Once I saw how Ritchie Bros. set up our yard, with like machines parked at the same angle and everything was squeaky clean—it was beautiful and emotional. For some of our staff it was too hard to come to the auction to say goodbye.”
However, once the prices started coming in, Diane’s nerves quickly faded.
“Ritchie Bros. really hit a grand slam for my family and I,” she said. “Because of Ritchie Bros., because of Doug’s reputation, and because of the supply chain issues, our results ended up approximately 60% higher than our expectations—it was incredible!”
Diane continued, “Ritchie Bros. treated me, my staff, my shop, and my equipment with great respect. They worked so hard and did such a great job searching and sorting through our shop to decide what would sell best with what. We never would’ve been able to do this on our own. We didn’t have that knowledge or expertise. Thank you, Ritchie Bros., for helping us in our time of need.”
Sell my equipment