Kelly Olson is the first woman to be chosen as president for Western States Equipment Company, and will succeed Tom Harris, who plans to retire at the end of the year. Olson will assume her official duties in January 2019, ensuring a smooth transition for customers.
Since joining Western States in 2004 as finance manager, Olson has served in various roles for the company, most recently as vice president of finance. Prior to joining Western States, Olson was a corporate accountant and analyst and senior corporate accountant for Albertsons, Inc. She earned a bachelor’s in accounting at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont., and has held an active Certified Public Accounting license since 2003.
Tom Harris has been with Western States for 45 years, serving as president since 2002. He began his career as a technician in 1973, advancing into engine service and sales. He then structured and implemented the Western States’ Rental Division in 1995, now known as The Cat Rental Stores. Harris was promoted to vice president sales in 1999 and to president in 2002. In his tenure, he instigated the company’s current strategic planning process and was instrumental in achieving numerous awards from Caterpillar, and international recognition for Western States as a high-performance, modern dealership.
Western States Equipment began as Western Equipment in 1933, providing machines and equipment to the construction industry, and has been a Caterpillar Dealer since 1956. The dealer’s service area covers 191,000 square miles in the Intermountain area, covering Idaho, eastern Oregon and Washington, and portions of western Montana and Wyoming. The company has 17 branch locations, and is headquartered in Meridian, Idaho.