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Gary Ray
Gary Ray

Gary Ray - 10 Years with Bernhard in the US.

Posted on October 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Portrait of Gary Ray – Business Development Manager, North America.

Despite the easy southern drawl of a true Floridian, Gary Ray was born and spent his early childhood years in the elegant, grey Scottish city of Edinburgh.

The son of a Scottish mother and US Air Force father, the family moved between US, UK and Germany during his childhood years.

Back in Texas, and in his last year at high school Gary enrolled into a Distributive Education course working on day release for a small engine equipment company and dealership.

“We sold outdoor power equipment for small engines, as well as being mower distributors for Toro and Snapper. It was my first job and I realised that I wanted to make a career in this industry. “

 

“In 2004 I joined Bernhard”.

In 1986 Gary moved to Florida and went into Sales with a golf course equipment supplier. After 18 years and a lot of travel he joined the Bernhard sales team in 2004 to build and look after the South Eastern US.

“I’d encountered Bernhard grinders on my travels and knew the company and people from trade shows and seminars. I like the product and I like working for a manufacturer because we get the opportunity to work with the end user as well as our distributors. This means we can build up relationships over the years, really get to know people and I enjoy that very much. We are really strong and known for being people who care and go out of our way to take care of the customer. You can’t have that if the team are not happy.”

The job gets Gary travelling out in the field much of the time and he is away for around 90% of the year as well as travelling around Florida, so plenty of opportunities to see a lot of places, some wonderful golf courses and catch up with friends he has worked with for years.

“I have travelled extensively all over the US and Canada as well as a couple of visits to the UK each year. I still enjoy that.”

 

“You could say golf is my passion.”

“When I am in the UK I try to take a bit of time out to visit family and some courses on the Open rota – maybe Turnberry, Royal Liverpool, Royal Birkdale.

I watched the 2005 Open at St Andrews – Jack Nicklaus’s last Open Championship. That was special for me.

Golf is my hobby. I play every Saturday and Sunday. I don’t play when I am travelling as I don’t have the time, but twice a week is fine for me. I play quite a few competitive games and maybe 1 or 2 tournaments a month. I like competitive golf. “

With a handicap of 5 that is hardly surprising.

At home Gary is a member of the local club, Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club, which is in his home town of Valrico, Florida; a suburb of Tampa in a predominantly retirement and holiday area.

“Valrico is flat, sandy and tropical with palm trees, pines and oaks, beaches and some big lakes. The golf course has the highest point in the county that is 115 ft above sea level, so you get the picture.”

Gary has been a member of the club since 1988 and knows everyone.

“It is a friendly place and there are a lot of nice people and a strong loyal membership.

I started playing golf in my late twenties. It is a tough game when you start out. If you have any ability, you enjoy and work at the game then you may get down to a handicap of 10. From 10 to 5 or to scratch you’d have to have quite a bit of talent and determination and work at it to maintain that level, and you’d need to be playing several times a week.

I’d say a big part of golf is a short game. You can save a lot of strokes there. When I went from 10 to 5 it was because my short game got better and my long game got straighter.

I like living here. Tampa is on the Gulf of Mexico so we’ve never recorded 100 degrees but every day at this time of year it gets to around 90 and generally in the afternoon heat thunderstorms develop. Tampa is known as the lightening capital of the world. The storms come and go and it cools a bit. The only time it gets close to the upper 90’s is in May and early June before the storms come.

July, August and part of September it rains almost every day with a high level of humidity.

We say we have about 360 days of summer and 5 days of winter. If we go to 55 degrees we are freezing. Really it is a very pleasant climate from November through March.”

Aside from the golf, Gary says he likes relaxation. He likes where he lives. He enjoys his golf. He likes the industry he has worked in for 37 years. He likes the people he works with and the people he plays golf with.

I’d say Gary is one very content man.