Jim Cashman, Jr. (Owner 1962-1979)
After a long career in the construction, auto and airline industries, Big Jim Cashman turned over the reins to his son, Jim Cashman Jr., and his daughter, Tona Cashman Siefert. “He wanted us to run the business so that he could do what he wanted, said Jim Jr. in a Las Vegas Review- Journal interview. Tona, who was very knowledgeable about the business, assisted Jim Jr. as vice-president and co-owner of Cashman Enterprises. I’m sure many of us will be surprised to know that the company’s primary focus was on the automotive side of the business rather than the Caterpillar portion.
After the Hoover Dam boom, there was not a great deal of construction going on in Las Vegas, a city of just 25,000. In 1945, the Caterpillar division consisted of just Tona, Jim Jr., and four employees. Jim Jr. explained, “The Caterpillar dealership wasn’t a big part of our family business… Most of Cashman Enterprises’ business had been focused on the automotive [side], which included brands such as Cadillac, Buick, LaSalle, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and GMC.” However, the 1946 construction of the Flamingo kicked off the construction of multiple casinos in the Las Vegas Valley, and Cashman Equipment began to grow. There were approximately 30 employees by the late 1950s, but Jim Jr. had his eye on even more expansion.
In 1961, the opportunity arose to purchase Crooks Brothers Equipment, the Caterpillar dealer serving northern Nevada and eastern California, and Jim Jr. jumped at the chance. Purchasing another dealer always involves extensive negotiations not only with the sellers and bankers but also with Caterpillar for the right to service the territory. Caterpillar was certainly interested in having one Nevada based dealer, but they wanted the family to sell all of the automobile dealerships and commit all of its time and financial capacity to the Caterpillar business. While this was a very difficult decision to make, Jim Jr. finally agreed to sell all the dealerships except for Cashman Cadillac.
During the negotiations, Jim Jr. broke his leg while skiing at Mt. Rose and required hospitalization, but that did not slow him down. He closed the purchase and signed the Sales and Service agreement with Caterpillar from his hospital bed in Reno.
With the stroke of a pen, Jim Jr. doubled Cashman Equipment in both number of employees and territory. It also expanded the industries we serve to include mining, forestry and agriculture in addition to the construction and road work industries that were the mainstay of the southern Nevada territory. This expansion led to the formation of the Cashman Equipment that we know today. However, there was still a lot of growth yet to come for the company.