Former Pierce Manufacturing President, CEO Dies

Doug Ogilvie, a former long-time president, general manager and CEO of Pierce Manufacturing, Appleton, Wis., died Sunday March 17. He was 94.

Mr. Ogilvie started working for Pierce, one of the world's largest fire apparatus manufacturers, shortly after his discharge from the Air Force after World War II where he was a flight engineer and a top gunner in a B-24 Liberator, having flown on 42 missions.

He started his career as a sales engineer, drawing on his education from the University of Wisconsin where he was a student of engineering. He was unable to complete his education because of his service to the 14th Air Force division for five years.

When Mr. Ogilvie started working for Pierce, the company had only 15 employees. During his decades with the company, he helped it grow to become an internationally recognized fire apparatus business with approximately 1,600 employees on the payroll today.

In 1958, Mr. Ogilvie became vice president of the company and in 1960, he was elected president and general manager of Pierce.

According to Pierce’s web site, the company’s name was officially changed to Pierce Auto Body Works in 1960 and during the first year of Mr. Ogilvie’s election to the company’s top spot, sales topped $1 million, in part due to the popularity of the Snorkel aerial device.

Earlier in his tenure, the company decided to discontinue its van and beverage body lines, focusing strictly on its utility and fire apparatus business. In the early 1960s, utility sales made up 60 percent of the company’s business, but the fire division was growing steadily.

In 1986, Mr. Ogilvie became the CEO of Pierce and retired from the company in 1993 after 43 years with Pierce.

On a personal note, he had seven children, and 15 grandchildren. He enjoyed collecting antique and collector automobiles and doing volunteer work for his hometown of Appleton, Wis., which is also the home of Pierce Manufacturing.

Pierce is marking its 100th anniversary this year and Mr. Ogilvie was at the helm of the fire apparatus maker for nearly half of its existence.

Funeral service details are pending with the Wichmann-Fargo Funeral Home in Appleton, Wis. News will post more details about arrangements as they become available.