In 1982, Santo De Arcangelis reached out to George Dudley Warbeck in search of support in growing his new equipment rental, sales and service business, High Reach Inc.
The two teamed up and George began as the salesman—a role in which he could exercise his wealth of knowledge, gift of communication, honesty and integrity to establish lasting bonds with customers.
Not long after, George approached Santo with what he believed to be a great business opportunity, and the two pursued it.
“We went to Kansas City and had a meeting with Broderson Manufacturing Corporation and after a while the owner said, ‘If you want to represent my company in Canada, you’re more than welcome,’” explained Santo.
Thus, George was integral in securing Broderson as a partner and, ultimately, bringing its line of industrial carry deck cranes to Canada.
“At the time, there were maybe 50 Broderson machines in Canada. Right now, there are thousands. George really helped the company become a pioneer in the industry,” said Santo.
In his younger days, George was a skilled artist, which would come in handy as High Reach began its marketing for Broderson equipment.
At first, Broderson didn’t have any marketing material available, so George took it upon himself to make his own sketches and line drawings to describe the equipment and their specs.
George would set out on the road often, meeting with potential customers and serving existing ones.
For example, in the mid-1980s, George would travel to Germany in the hopes of securing a railroad recovery crane (Takraf GmbH) for a national railroad company.
Within Canada, he represented High Reach from coast to coast.
“George went out on the road to places in Ontario, made sales calls out west to British Columbia paper mills, went as far east as New Brunswick and to the Potash Mines in Saskatchewan, gaining one customer at a time,” said Santo.
His hands-on approach to business resonated with many and, ultimately, was integral in the success of the company.
“A person goes about his business conversing with people every day and it is usually just the weather and how are you. With George it was the state of the Union and much more, and you really felt like you connected,” said Gary Dick, Owner and President at Versalift.
“George knew his customers, provided the best to customers, guided them on what cranes were best suited for intended jobs—old school customer service that helped build High Reach up to what it is today,” wrote Sandra Clarke, who worked with George at High Reach for thirty years.
Wry, dry and absurdly funny
Outside of business, George’s quirky traits and knowledge of a wide range of topics allowed him to foster connections with many different types of people, leaving a lasting impression with many.
“George was weird in a very smart, unique way. He didn’t pursue university but as far as knowledge, he was probably one of the smartest people I’ve ever met,” explained Santo.
“George was a smart, funny, charming and honest man. His integrity is what I admired,” wrote Sandra Clarke.
George’s obituary describes him as ‘wry, dry and absurdly funny,’ but not before illustrating the humanitarian perspective he brought to the world.
“George was uncompromisingly committed to an ethic of justice, and carefully considered the impacts of global systems on vulnerable people,” it reads. “He believed a more equitable world was possible and he never stopped championing that hope.”