Alastair Hope Robertson 1949 – 2019

We heard the devastating news this morning that access industry veteran Alastair Robertson, owner of Universal Equipment in Glenn Ellyn, near Chicago passed away last night in hospital, following several weeks of illness.
Alastair Robertson

Alastair Robertson was born in South Africa and studied in the UK and then in 1980 he moved to the USA where he began working in a sales role with Simon. He later moved to Economy Engineering which was acquired by Snorkel before joining Grove Manlift in Pennsylvania in the mid 1980s, as a key member of its senior North American sales team. His next stop was Skyjack, before joining the JLG dealer in Chicago - S and R Equipment in 1991. In the mid 1990s he began working with Dealer Alliance in Rockford, Illinois and sold products from a range of manufacturers including Niftylift and Aichi, setting up his own aerial work platform sales business Universal Equipment in 1998.

He suffered a stroke and underwent a major heart operation some 10 to 12 years or so ago, but bounced back and continued to work and travel more than many half his age. He would pop up at exhibitions from China to France, the UK and all over Asia, keeping an eye out for a new product or innovation. He loved the industry and most of all the people. He knew everyone and was a huge source of knowledge and information and sometimes a little gossip - but was much loved on a truly global basis. He will be truly missed all over. He was a man you simply could not but like. He had a great sense of humour, a smile and a laugh that would light up the room and always had time to stop and talk. He lived life to the full and was never too busy to talk or listen.

He leaves behind his wife Beth and sons Glenn, Struan and Brent, and daughter Keri. Glenn and Brent not only joined him in the business, but helped move it forward, something he was always very proud of. He was only 69.

We will of course update this item with a more fitting tribute to one of life’s good guys once we have had the chance to speak to the family etc..

Rest in peace Alastair.
Alastair Robertson

A Celebration of Life Memorial will be held on Friday, February 8th between 16:00 to 20:00, with a remembrance ceremony at 19:00.
At the Hyatt Lodge,
MacDonalds Campus,
2815 Jorie Boulevard,
Oak Brook,
Illinois 60523

In place of flowers the family has requested any donations go to the Re:New Project for Refugee Women www.renewproject.org


Andrew Fishburn
I had the pleasure to deal with Alistair, i always found him Honest, Trustworthy and Civil.
His industry knowledge will be missed for sure, along with his sence of humour.
Sad news indeed, my thoughts with his family at this time, looking forward to reading about his achievements when the time is right.

Feb 4, 2019

The following comments have come in through our social media feeds:

"I am very sad for this. Alastair was a good friend and really good professional!"
JC Caula

"Always there to help with a smile. A fixture in this industry and at trade shows. Alistair will be missed. RIP."
Jeff Stachowiak

"Very sad to hear this, I met and dealt with Alastair ever since he was at Simon Aerials. He was always helpful, but more importantly willing to listen to you. A big loss for our industry!"
Jesse Rodriguez

"So sad to hear! My deepest condolences go out to the Robertson family and friends."
Jerad Epps

"Alastair was an amazing man. Friendly, funny, and caring. God bless him and his family."
Luke Powers

"One of the originals to first come out to Asia and put boots on the ground. A real gentleman and great mate. Always made time to meet up every time he came to my part of the world. The whole region here is in total shock and saddened by his parting. Will be deeply missed personally. RIP my South African brother..."
Dion Calder

"Terrible news. Alastair was a great guy. RIP"
Simon Maher

"Really sad news, what a true gentleman Alastair was, my condolences to all the family"
Frank Iszard

"My deepest condolences to all who knew him, he sounds like an amazing individual. I wish I had the chance to meet him"
Jess Tarlini

"Sad news.. Great guy. Bought my first Nifty Lift from Alastair in the early 90's."
Matthew Bucknell

Feb 4, 2019

Paul Richards
It was always great to catch up with Alastair - there will be few with a broader global knowledge of our industry, and he was always fine company. From our first meeting at Bauma in Munich in the 80's (well, specifically the Hofbrauhaus) to his arrival out of the blue one evening just last year at Barasti in the UAE, you never knew where Alastair would turn up, but there was always a chance he might - and it is both very sad, and difficult to accept, that chapter has now closed.
He will be greatly missed.

Feb 3, 2019

To know of this fine gentleman who cast a long shadow and left an indelible impression on so many is an honor to me. My regrets to his sons and colleagues and condolences to his family.

Feb 2, 2019

I read all these lovely comments. I have developed a deep feeling of regret that despite seeing Alistair on many occasions at a distance at various events all over the world I never even had a single conversation with him. I now read that he was born in the same year as me and had a long career in this industry and yet I missed out in getting to know who I now see was a great man and a man who would have been welcoming and hospitable to a total stranger.
Here's a lesson for me. Life is short so enrichen your life by making new friends whilst there?s an opportunity.
Sincere condolences to his family, close friends and associates.

Feb 1, 2019

Very sad news, I will miss Alastair's smiling face and his professionalism.
My sincere condolences to the family.

Karin Nars

Feb 1, 2019

The following short comments were received in response to this story posted on our social media outlets:

"Oh no, truly gone too soon, will be missed, not feeling good right now. Darn it!"

"So sad to hear, first dealt with Alistair in 80s I believe at Grove Manlift. Always knowledgeable, but above all was a good person, always had a smile and it was contagious"

"I'm very sad for this. Alastair was a good friend and really good professional!"

"Very sad. One of my first acquaintances in the AWP industry."

"A Good man"

"I am very sorry to hear. Condolences to the Robertson family. Alastair was a true gentleman and a pleasure to do business with. A handshake with him on a deal was better than any contract! You'll be missed."

"Always there to help with a smile. A fixture in this industry and at trade shows. Alistair will be missed. RIP."

Jan 31, 2019

Shocked and terribly saddened to hear of Alistair passing. A true gent who demonstrated that family was his main driver in life.

I was always taken with his beaming smiling and appreciation of the company of people he'd meet on his travels. When we'd meet he'd sent me home to Scotland with his love & regards for the 'auld country'.

Folk don't die who live in our hearts. Requiescet in pace.

Andrew McCusker

Jan 31, 2019

Craig Ihde
Sad news indeed. I worked with him in my days at Simon-USA. Another AWP industry General gone .... he will be missed

Jan 31, 2019

The following comments have been sent or messaged into the office during the day in addition to those already posted.

"Absolutely devastated and heartbroken to hear my great friend Alastair Robertson has passed away. A finer nicer gentleman you will never meet. He will be missed beyond words...thank you Alastair for your wisdom, your advice, your incredible hospitality and the laughs. RIP my friend and my love and thoughts to his wife Beth Campbell Robertson."
Lee Perry

"How sad, what a tremendous Man"

"This is so sad, he was an icon."

"A real shame... one hell of a character."

Jan 31, 2019

Jos van Grootveld
Just hearing this sad, sad news, we've to realise that a great person has left us.... It was a privilege knowing him.

My sincere condolences to the familiy.
Jos van Grootveld

Jan 31, 2019

Alastair was special in many ways, as he was first and foremost a great family man as exemplified with his business being him and his sons.

His Facebook page was always updated with news about his family, or with great pictures of him and his grandkids. For me, he was a great IPAF ambassador always building and growing relationships. He will be deeply missed both personally and professionally by so many.

Tony Groat

Jan 31, 2019

Alastair was an institution and legend in our industry with an unmatched network and knowledge, both nationally and internationally. If you didn't know Alastair, then you didn't know the industry.

He was one of the first industry experts to engage with IPAF in North America and a strong advocate for the organization. His loyal support was not just limited to being a council member for many years, he could be found at all the national and international events and summits around the globe.

And 'around the globe' would sum up Alastair?s life and legacy. His friendship with industry people spanned over all continents, and he was truly a universal person that reflected his company?s name!

I had the great privilege of calling Alastair a friend for 20 years and, like so many others, I got started in this business on good advice and referrals from Alastair, he will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. I will personally miss his great humor, laughter and smile.

Alastair's approach to life was grand, friendly, enthusiastic and he was always a true gentleman. RIP, my friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Ebbe Christensen
Chairman IPAF North American Council

Jan 31, 2019

Terribly sad news about Alastair.

I remember the great times we had in Hagerstown when we became neighbours during his time at Grove. Many times - whenever I was passing through Chicago - we'd get together. He was great company and lived life to the full. He loved his family so much. It?s a few years ago now after he started Universal that I met Beth and spent some time with them in his second home in Glen Ellyn. I was thinking of him over Christmas and looking forward to visiting with him.

One of Alastair's great loves was collecting old meat grinders/mincers which hung all over his first home.

Everyone knew and loved Alastair.
So many memories. So sad.

Stuart Anderson

Jan 31, 2019

RIP Alastair.

Knowing him since 1988, we have been working together many years, we had lot,s of fun together and very weird experiences all over the world.#
A true AWP man.

Condolences to his loved ones.

Jan 31, 2019

Godverdomme Alastair,

a pleasant fellow and a good friend from the industry left us.
Many good memories, always a laugh and a ball.
Sorry to see you go my man, will definitely miss you.

I wish his family strength and courage.
Jerry Kist

Jan 31, 2019

Kevin Fox
I have just heard the very sad news
I met Alistair many years ago and we got along very well and always had a laugh and a giggle together

A trade show would not be a trade show without bumping into Alistair wherever it was in the World

My sincerest thoughts and prayers go to all his family

RIP Alistair you will be missed

Kevin Fox

Jan 31, 2019

Glyn Goodwin
I first met Alastiar in the early 90's with the Aichi Corp he was supporting and working with. We became friends for many years and always spent time having a catch up at any shows we both attended around the World.

Rest in peace Alastair, the Access World will be a poorer place without you.

My thoughts go out to all the Robertson family.

Glyn Goodwin

Jan 31, 2019

alan russon
I had the great pleasure to have know Alastair for 35 years. He was a true gentleman, with a wealth of knowledge about our industry. We became very good friends and shared some fantastic times together. My thoughts are with Beth and all of Alastiar's family. A true legend in every sense.
RIP my friend. Alan and Caroline Russon.

Jan 31, 2019

So sorry to hear this very sad news
We shared many a happy moment over the years
One of a kind who will be sadly missed
Sincerest condolences to all his family
Mike Evans

Jan 31, 2019
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