Earl B. Finning (1896 – 1965)

Earl B. Finning (1896 – 1965) (1896 – 1965)

Earl Finning is the founder of Finning International. He began the company on January 4, 1933, with a $50,000 bank loan and a staff of six, with the sole distribution rights for Caterpillar Tractor Products and Services in BC.

Mr. Finning started his career as a salesperson for the Caterpillar Tractor Co. distributor in California. Being somewhat of an adventurer, he believed that were greater opportunities in the relatively underdeveloped province of British Columbia on Canada’s Pacific Coast. He moved to Vancouver and established a small business, selling and servicing various types of heavy equipment.

His instincts were right. Canada boasted very few tractors in those years, with most agricultural and construction work primarily carried out by hand. In 1933, despite the challenging economic environment brought on by the Depression, he bought out his partner and founded Finning Tractor & Equipment Co. Ltd. with a staff of five. To demonstrate his commitment to customer service, he opened the first Finning branch in Nelson, BC in 1937. Opening it in the midst of the Great Depression was bold and much appreciated by his customers and employees alike. This would be the first of many branches that would be built across the province.

Finning Tractor had one unique characteristic that would distinguish it from its competitors. Mr. Finning believed that parts availability and repair services were vitally important to the valuation of Caterpillar products. From day one, Mr. Finning’s operating philosophy could be captured in five simple words: “We service what we sell.” The Finning name spread throughout British Columbia and became synonymous with reliability and service.

Today, Finning International Inc. employs 15,000 people, representing Caterpillar in six countries on over three continents. It is the largest dealer in the Caterpillar world and continues to grow on the base of Mr. Finning’s pledge to provide exceptional customer service for Caterpillar equipment.


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