Vermeer Chair Emeritus, former CEO Bob Vermeer dies at 78

(UC) — Bob Vermeer, former Vermeer CEO and current chair emeritus, has died at the age of 78 after battling cancer, Vermeer Corporation said in a statement.

Bob Vermeer (Courtesy of Vermeer Corporation)

Bob was the son of Vermeer founder Gary Vermeer and served as the company CEO from 1989 to 2003. He spent over 40 years as a second-generation owner and top executive of the family-owned and operated company.

“Bob loved people and his passion for others will continue to be a lasting legacy at Vermeer,” the company said in the announcement.

Under his leadership, sales at Vermeer grew nearly 13 times. He initiated a program to evaluate and coach dealers to higher levels of performance through improved customer relationships. He oversaw key advancements in finance that improved equipment availability and allowed dealers to stock inventory globally, ultimately growing business domestically and outside the United States.

Bob also held positions as the former chairman of the Iowa Business Council and head of the Equipment Manufacturers Institute. In addition, he has been a member of, and served as an officer for, several boards, including Central College Board of Trustees, Dordt College Board, Calvin Theological Seminary Board of Trustees and the Pella Chamber of Commerce. In 2016, he was inducted into the AEM Hall of Fame.

Bob founded the Vermeer Scholarship Program more than 30 years ago with his wife Lois and brother Stan. He was also responsible for establishing the "Spirit of Caring" award, which celebrated a Vermeer employee each year that best exemplified the merit. He spearheaded numerous employee and community service programs including the Vermeer Chaplain Program and the Vermeer Charitable Foundation Scholarship Program

The family plans to announce burial arrangements and associated details at a later date.

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