MERIDIAN, Idaho - Kelly Olson is the first woman to be chosen as President for Western States, and will replace Tom Harris, current President, who plans to retire at the end of the year. Olson has been the Vice President of Finance for Western States since 2016 and joined Western States in 2004 as the Finance Manager. She advanced to Financial Services Manager in 2008, served as the Enterprise Resource Project Manager from 2012 to 2014, and was then promoted to Controller later in 2014. Prior to joining Western States, Olson was a Corporate Accountant and Analyst and Senior Corporate Accountant for Albertsons, Inc. Olson earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, and has held an active Certified Public Accounting license since 2003. Olson will assume her official duties in January 2019, ensuring a smooth transition for customers.
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.