US office products rep group pioneer Al Autry passed away towards the end of 2022, OPI has learned.
Al enjoyed an incredible 63-year career spanning eight decades. It began in 1959, when he was hired by manufacturer representative group Carl Draper, where his father Jack also worked at the time. Al became Manager of Carl Draper in 1968 and then sole owner four years later.
In 1966, Al was elected President of the Golden State Travelers Club; and in 1970 he chaired the NOPA convention and exhibition in Las Vegas (NV).
In 1973, Al teamed up with Jerry Jones and Bill O’Conner to create Tri-West Associates, spanning 13 states in the west of the US. He sold his stake in Tri-West to his business partners in 1990, keeping the Hawaii and Pacific accounts. This allowed him to work independently through the firm and have more free time to travel, which was one of his great passions.
He eventually ended his relationship with Tri-West in 2001, but continued on his own with some of Hawaii and all of the Pacific.
As his wife, Molly Gordon, notes: “Al always joked that he quit going to sales meetings for his vendors back in 2000 because they would see how old he was! Between him and his father Jack, they covered over 100 years in the OP industry.
“In 2001, he gave into the idea of the internet and got email, but until his last day, he still used a typewriter for his correspondence. He was meticulous with follow through and always sent a short ‘Thank you’ for all orders. He was a true gentleman and a mentor to many who came and went during his long tenure.”
OPI extends its deepest sympathies to Molly and all of Al’s family.
Port Townsend (CA), USA