Robert Joe Ratliff, 85, of Johns Creek, GA passed away on April 21, 2017 in his home.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Atlanta Athletic Club on Saturday, May 20, 2017. A reception will begin at 4:00PM and the service will begin at 4:30PM with Reverend William Ratliff officiating.
Bob Ratliff was born in Wichita, KS to Joel and Harriette Ratliff on August, 15, 1931. He married Virginia Ann Woodfield on September 2, 1983. She was his college sweetheart and she survives him.
At the age of four, the family moved to Baltimore, MD, where Bob grew up, played football and ice hockey and attended Polytechnic Institute. Upon completion of this college preparatory program, Bob attended the University of Maryland. During his time in college he was a very active member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, heavily involved in campus activities, and served in the United States Air Force for almost two years. He graduated in 1958 in the School of Education and procured coursework in Industrial Engineering.
Bob began his impressive employment career with International Harvester Company. He spent almost 26 years with this organization, with his most recent position as President of the IH Export Company. He also served as Senior Vice President of the Worldwide Truck Group and garnered extensive experience in Global Sales & Marketing, Product Development, Engineering and Business Strategic Planning. In 1983, Bob’s career took on a new direction as he joined Uniroyal Tire Company as their President. He controlled all functions of the Worldwide Tire Operations. In 1988, Bob was approached to become the President & CEO of Deutz Allis, the farm equipment division of Allis-Chalmers Company. He then led management negotiations to purchase the farm equipment company from Klockner-Humboldt-Deutz AG of Germany. The management buyout was finalized in 1990 under the banner of AGCO Corporation.
As the founder of AGCO Corporation, he directed the turnaround of this farm equipment supplier into a continuously profitable and growing concern. Under his direction, the Company experienced substantial growth through twenty-one successful global acquisitions. Under Bob’s leadership, AGCO became a publicly traded company in 1992 and he directed the Company’s sales growth from $220 million in 1990 to sales of over $5 billion in 2004.
With more than 50 years in the truck, tire and farm equipment industries, Bob served a four-year term as Chairman of The Manufacturing Institute, the research and education arm of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Prior to his retirement from AGCO, he was a Director and Member of the Executive Committee of the NAM and its Vice Chairman for the Southeastern Region.
Bob was also a co-founder and Chairman of the Republic Bank of Georgia, which was merged into The Piedmont Bank of Norcross, Georgia, where he was a current Director. He has been active in consulting and assisting the development of new technology start-up companies into entrepreneurial ventures, and he was a current Director of CVT Corporation of Montreal, Canada, a company that focuses on the development of energy savings power transmission products. He frequently lectured at universities and graduate schools on business development and corporate strategies.
Bob Ratliff is also an honorary Director of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and in 2014 he was named to the AEM Hall of Fame. He was also selected Executive of the Year in 2002 and Entrepreneur of the Year in 1995.
In his free time, Bob enjoyed boating, playing golf, and tennis, and in his younger days, softball. As a young adult he was a fan of the Baltimore Colts and later, he developed a love for the Atlanta Braves. He loved Yellowstone National Park, Maryland crabs, oysters and reading a great mystery. Bob loved his country, was very patriotic and always was concerned for its future. More than anything, though, Bob loved his family, and time spent on vacations with the entire family together.
Bob is preceded in death by both of his parents and his brother, Gene.
In addition to his wife, Gini, Bob is survived by a daughter, Sandi (Rich) Rose of Quincy, Illinois; step-sons: Rich (Leela) Woodfield of Norcross, Georgia and Kerry Woodfield of Indian Head, Maryland; step daughter: Susan (Randy) Hoffman of Johns Creek, Georgia; 10 grandchildren: Collin Rose of New York City, NY; Kristi Rose of Madison, WI; Kimberly Rose of Quincy, IL; Derrick (Amber) Woodfield of Yulee FL; Carter Woodfield of Norcross, GA; Nathan, Boaz and Yaffa Woodfield of Indian Head, MD; Jamie and Landon Hoffman of Johns Creek, GA; and great-granddaughter: Monroe Woodfield of Yulee, FL.
Memorials: Gary Sinise Foundation; The American Heart Association; or The National Park Trust.