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ASC, Air Equipment Rental Partner to Open New Dealership

Tue November 11, 2014 - Southeast Edition
Eric Olson


(L-R): Jim Fultz, Zeke Hendrix and Wyatt Franks, all represent Doosan Portable Power at the event.
(L-R): Jim Fultz, Zeke Hendrix and Wyatt Franks, all represent Doosan Portable Power at the event.
(L-R): Jim Fultz, Zeke Hendrix and Wyatt Franks, all represent Doosan Portable Power at the event. Matt Marion (L), ASC Construction Equipment and Avery Martin, Sandvik, talk about the Sandvik DX800 top-hammer drill. (L-R): Elon Holley and Dave Parker, both of ASC Construction Equipment, welcome Jessie Carney and Shirley Surratt, both of Hoover Inc. Crushed Stone.

Name recognition is everything to any successful business, partnership, or product, particularly when the names involved stand for excellence.

So it made perfect sense when two big-name and well-respected equipment dealerships joined forces recently in Tennessee to sell two big-name product lines.

Charlotte-based ASC Construction Equipment USA has partnered with Air Equipment Rental Corp., headquartered in Painesville, Ohio, to open a dealership in LaVergne, Tenn., located just southeast of Nashville.

The new dealership positions both companies in middle Tennessee to better cover the western and eastern ends of the state. Due to an abundance of hard rock underneath much of the state’s soil, both ASC and Air Equipment Rental hope to sell Doosan Portable Power products and Sandvik drills to Volunteer State contractors.

ASC Construction Equipment USA Inc. feels right at home in Tennessee with this additional location, strengthening its presence in the state after having served the markets in Knoxville and Chattanooga.

The new facility represents Air Equipment Rental’s first foray into Tennessee. Its other locations are in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as in Indianapolis, Ind.

A Meeting of the Minds

Coincidentally, both firms were looking to expand their Doosan lines in the Tennessee markets prior to their meeting at ConExpo-Con/AGG trade show last winter.

After the two companies talked for several weeks, they finalized their agreement to open the new store in June and held an open house earlier this fall where 75 to 100 customers toured the dealership

Air Equipment Rental’s Vice President, Tom Gilman, expects big things from the collaboration.

“I guess both of us knew that there was a market segment here that we could go after, as both of us are Doosan dealers in other parts of the United States,” Gilman said. “We were just drawn to this partnership after our first meeting.”

Hard Drills for Hard Rock

ASC was already selling its products in east Tennessee in the Chattanooga and Knoxville markets before taking on the Sandvik line in November 2011. Prior to that, Sandvik had no dealers selling its line of drills in the western part of the state, but was handling distribution there itself.

After looking at market research data, ASC and Air Equipment Rental each decided that the Nashville area would be a good place to open a store that offered drilling equipment, according to Kristin Parker, vice president of sales and marketing of ASC.

“ASC recognized in 2011 that there was a market for us on the Sandvik blasthole drill side and we knew we couldn’t come to market with just one product line, so that was when we started researching the expanded market representation of the Doosan product line,” Parker said. “We already had eastern Tennessee, so we went to Doosan and discussed this western territory, as well, and that was when we were introduced to Air Equipment Rental’s Brian Hart and Tom Gilman. We spoke with them to figure out how to partner to make sure we cover this distribution for both Doosan and Sandvik.”

The result is that both dealerships share in the costs of the LaVergne facility and contribute to the product and parts inventory.

“We are very mindful about partnering strategically with people that possess good reputations like Air Equipment Rental, which has a very good name in the industry,” said Matt Marion, ASC’s Doosan/Sandvik segment manager. “It just is a good fit for us. And, speaking geographically, it does put us in the center of the rock industry for the drilling and the air products that we do offer.”

Besides the Doosan air compressors and high-pressure units, Marion said that the new Tennessee dealership would also offer Sandvik top-hammer drills and downhole drills.

Depending on applications and depths, he explained, most top-hammer drills are primarily used on construction sites, whereas downhole hammer drills are used in quarries or for holes with larger diameters.

“Any of the road-building in this region pretty much requires drilling and blasting,” Marion said. “You dig more than two feet deep in this part of Tennessee and you are going to hit rock.

Marion said that the Sandvik DX800 crawler top-hammer drill rig has proven to be the biggest selling product so far and those are most popular with road contractors.

Doosan Offers Solid Equipment

Gilman said that he and his firm have carried Doosan’s full line of the manufacturer’s air compressors for years.

“We specialize in large air- and high-pressure equipment and we recognized a need in this market because of the rock hammers and the other drills that are required here,” Gilman said. “With Doosan, it is a pretty nice feeling to know that you have not only a solid piece of equipment, but also the backing that Doosan gives us, both in parts and service, and technical support.”

ASC’s Marion said that the open house at the new LaVergne, Tenn., location served as an excellent venue for both his firm and Air Equipment Rental to meet potential customers and hear what their needs are.

“We understand our different markets and the industry as a whole, but every market is different so we want to know what we can offer and what we can provide as far as equipment and support to help our customers succeed in what they do,” Marion said.

Gilman said that both ASC and Air Equipment Rental bring 24/7 customer assistance to the market and added that he thinks the Nashville area is getting “a big surprise with the level of customer service they are seeing from us.”

“Matt hit it right on the head, we have got to listen,” Gilman said. “We are going to listen to the customer and learn what they want from us and we may even be changing tomorrow morning how we were doing things today.”