Dave Ritchie was an innovator from his first equipment auction in 1963. With the auction set to start, the rain began to fall. Instead of making bidders walk the yard in the rain, Dave and his brothers set up the auction under the eaves of a nearby shop and drove the equipment piece by piece in front of bidders. The crowd stayed dry, and the “ramp-and-stage method” became a fixture at Ritchie Bros. and eventually other auctioneer houses around the world.
From the very beginning, for Dave and Ritchie Bros., the customer has always been the focus. In the words of Dave, “Treat your customers like your friends, and they will always be your customers”. So, Dave started to make friends, lots of them. Across Western Canada, then into the United States, and then around the world. All these relationships were important to Dave, and many of these friends were experts in their field. They taught him about the industry, what they liked and didn’t like about auctions, and served as “silent salesmen” around the world, helping to point Dave and his team to the next equipment package or region to go after.
With Ritchie Bros., Dave was committed to professionally conducted unreserved auctions, where the bidders set the prices, not the auctioneer or the sellers. No bid-ups. No buy backs. This transparency won the company customers around the world. Under Dave’s leadership, Ritchie Bros. conducted auctions across North America, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East, but Dave wasn’t satisfied and was excited to see where technology could take the company next.
Dave pushed Ritchie Bros. to conduct auctions via video in the late 1980s and 1990s, along with in-person bidding, and launched one of the equipment industry’s first equipment websites in 1996. After Ritchie Bros. went public in 1998, the company established an increasing number of auction locations and started working on a system that would allow customers to bid from home on their computer. With Dave as CEO Ritchie Bros. conducted its first online auction in 2002 and has never looked back.
On top of being an amazing friend and entrepreneur, Dave was also a great leader and philanthropist. He led by example, with no job too small for him to take part in—from picking up garbage at the auction site to catching bids on the auction ramp, Dave was all in. And he expected the same of his employees: complete dedication to making the customer experience at Ritchie Bros. the best possible.
Today, even though he’s retired, Dave is still an inspiration for Ritchie Bros. employees around the world. Just like him, we are committed to providing our customers the best solutions and service in the industry.
On behalf of Ritchie Bros. and the entire equipment industry…thank you, Dave!