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’Backhoe Across America’ Driver Neil Smith Meets, Greets at Atlanta JCB

Wed April 21, 2010 - Southeast Edition
CEG


On March 26, 2010, Neil Smith took the controls of a JCB 3CX backhoe loader and began a journey across the United States, driving from coast to coast to raise awareness and funding for the American Red Cross.
On March 26, 2010, Neil Smith took the controls of a JCB 3CX backhoe loader and began a journey across the United States, driving from coast to coast to raise awareness and funding for the American Red Cross.
On March 26, 2010, Neil Smith took the controls of a JCB 3CX backhoe loader and began a journey across the United States, driving from coast to coast to raise awareness and funding for the American Red Cross. Smith’s 2010 journey across the United States took approximately one month to complete. The trek began at Tybee Beach on the Atlantic Ocean and ended at the Pacific Ocean at the famous Santa Monica Pier. The DeKalb County (GA) Roads and Drainage Department turned out for some good food and an opportunity to be part of the Backhoe Across America charity event. (L-R) are Lenardo Owens; Scott Place, Atlanta JCB sales manager; Mike Richardson and Oswald Walke After logging many miles on the back roads of Georgia, Neil Smith (in cab), who piloted the JCB 3CX into northwest Atlanta for his first of nine stops at JCB dealerships, is greeted by Rick Piper, president of Atlanta JCB. Traveling coast-to-coast in a backhoe loader has helped JCB’s Neil Smith achieve “star status” and folks are eager to get their picture with him, including the girls of the Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery, Kennesaw, Ga. JCB’s Neil Smith (R) speaks with Don Beaver (L), president, Cobb County (GA) Chamber of Commerce; Craig Lesser (second from L), past commissioner of the Georgia Economic Development Authority and Rick Piper, president of Atlanta JCB. The Cobb County Enjoying the Backhoe Across America charity event (L-R) are Larry Welch, Atlanta JCB; Ronnie Hoover, Blount Construction Company, Marietta, Ga.; Ricky and Becky Wallace, Wallace Grading, Woodstock, Ga.; and Tony Reardon, president JCB-Georgia. (L-R): The Backhoe Across America charity campaign provided a great opportunity for JCB representatives and their customers to reconnect including Larry Welch, Atlanta JCB; Melinda LaFramboise and Greg Ford of A & F Contractors, Atlanta; and Maeve McPhail The JCB 3CX will be traveling from Tybee Island, Ga., to Santa Monica Pier in California. (L-R): Chatting after lunch are Bill Eckel, Dekalb County (GA) fleet superintendent; Homer Doster, Grabber Construction Products, Atlanta; Kie Doster and Scott Place of Atlanta JCB; and Charles Gill, Dekalb County (GA) sanitation superintendent.

Making the first dealership pit stop on its coast-to-coast journey for the Backhoe Across America charity drive, the JCB 3CX backhoe loader and driver, Neil Smith, paid a visit to Atlanta JCB on March 30.

Smith and his JCB 3CX will travel from Tybee Island, Ga., to Santa Monica Pier in California to raise funds for the American Red Cross for the Haiti Relief and Development Fund.

A tremendous turnout of customers, guests and local officials greeted Smith at Atlanta JCB in Kennesaw, Ga. For its part, Atlanta JCB treated attendees to a fun-filled afternoon consisting of activities, a catered lunch, door prizes and other giveaways, an opportunity to see and demo the newest JCB machines and to participate in a backhoe loader skills competition.

’Backhoe Across America’ Driver Fulfills Childhood Dream

On March 26, 2010, Neil Smith took the controls of a JCB 3CX backhoe loader and began a journey across the United States, driving from coast to coast to raise awareness and funding for the American Red Cross.

But Smith’s history with JCB started years earlier, and an ocean away.

When Smith was growing up in Rocester, England, he walked by a large factory on his way to school each and every day. That factory was heavy equipment manufacturer JCB’s world headquarters.

Smith dreamed of operating JCB’s powerful, bright yellow machines — but he had no way of knowing that the family-owned manufacturer would play a major role in his life for many years to come.

In 1974, Smith took his first job with JCB, working as a setter operator in the machine shop. Over the years that followed, he worked in various business units within the company until he eventually learned of a job opening with JCB’s demo team. This particular position involved his childhood dream — driving JCB machines. From then on, Smith lived that dream, operating JCB machines and demonstrating their capabilities to crowds at equipment shows and special events all over the world.

Smith’s first trip to the United States with JCB took place back in 1998 when he was asked to operate machines as part of a groundbreaking celebration for JCB’s North American Headquarters in Savannah, Ga. At the time, John Patterson, JCB’s current deputy chairman, was serving as the company’s global CEO, and he asked Smith to return to the Savannah facility in 2000, presenting him with the task of establishing and training a new, U.S.-based demo team. Smith took the challenge head-on, and is now entering his tenth year in Savannah and his thirty-sixth year with JCB.

Smith’s 2010 journey across the United States took approximately one month to complete. The trek began at Tybee Beach on the Atlantic Ocean and ended at the Pacific Ocean at the famous Santa Monica Pier.

“Over the years, the people of JCB have become like a second family to me,” Smith said. “As a member of that family, I feel that it’s my job do as much as I can to help JCB support our global community in times of crisis. I’m truly excited to get this ’show on the road,’ and start this latest adventure in my career with JCB.”