Sales Manager Added Life to the Industry

Edition: October 2001 - Vol 9 Number 10
Article#: 1083
Author: Laura Thill

Dyke joined Bischoff Surgical Supply (Oakland, CA) in 1945 as a sales rep. In 1960, after a partner at the company retired, he and several other reps became partners themselves. At this time, Dyke left sales to become a manager. Bischoff later was sold, first to Intermedco and then to Titus & Sons. With the acquisitions, Dyke became more involved in sales again.

''George was a pinnacle in our industry,'' says Herb Hilton of PSS (Jacksonville, FL) who was hired by Dyke in 1959. ''Everyone knew him. At the Western Hospital Convention, people would come by to visit him. It was a fun way to grow up in the industry.''

His strong people skills made it difficult for Dyke ever to stray too far from sales. Even as a manager, he continued to call on hospitals in San Francisco, recalls his son Tim. ''Dad was very definitely a people person and loved it,'' says the younger Dyke. ''He could be very outgoing and enjoyed inviting sales reps to our home.''

A Love for Medicine

Dyke's father was a surgeon and his older brother was a pathologist. The plan, recalls Tim Dyke, was for Dyke to follow suit and take up medicine after the War. ''But, he met Mom and it just never happened,'' he says. Still, Dyke continued to fuel his passion for medicine over the years, constantly pouring over medical dictionaries and manuals.

''He had a natural interest in medicine,'' Tim Dyke says of his father. ''He would visit doctors as a sales rep and want to learn all about medical procedures.'' Years later, when Tim Dyke joined Bischoff's Fresno office as a rep, he came to rely on his father's knowledge of medicine and procedures to better understand the market.

Indeed, the younger Dyke shared his father's interest. ''I think Dad was proud that one of his kids was interested in health care and medicine,'' says Tim Dyke. ''We became closer because of this common ground we shared.''

In spite of enjoying this bond, the elder Dyke respected that he and his son were different as well. After six or seven years in the business, Tim Dyke became restless with sales and decided to move on in his career. Tim was admittedly shy compared to his father. ''People could trust I'd show on time for an appointment. But, it was my dad who could sway the customers and assure them they were buying the right product. I was selling smaller products while my dad was helping physicians set up whole offices.''

When Tim Dyke made the decision to move on in his career, the elder Dyke was respectful and supportive of this choice.

Tim Dyke took a purchasing position at Chowchilla, a city district hospital in the Central Valley outside of Fresno. ''Dad and I could still discuss technical aspects of instruments I needed to purchase in my new position,'' he says. ''He could still give me good advice. We still shared a common ground. It was definitely a good experience working with Dad.''

George Dyke truly loved people, and always maintained a strong sense of family and friends. ''He was certainly a people person,'' says Tim Dyke. ''Up to his dying, he talked about individuals he knew in the War and continued to phone people he still knew in the industry.''

''My dad was a great conversationalist,'' Tim continues. ''He loved his work – he loved it all.''