Bryson Crane Helps Speed Raceway Job Toward Finish Line

Tue August 03, 2004 - Southeast Edition
Jennifer Conway

In the late 1800s, the area now known as Daytona Beach, FL, caught the attention of mogul Mathias Day, who built the town’s first hotel, the Palmetto House, in 1874. The area has since drawn entrepreneurs and vacationers alike –– and like so much of Florida, Daytona Beach has expanded with the demand.

In 1980, taking note of the business potential, Jimmy and Mike Bryson uprooted their 25-year-old Nashville, TN-based business, Bryson Crane Service, and moved it south.

Twenty-four years later, Bryson Crane Service, which primarily rents cranes to contractors and subcontractors in Volusia and Flagler counties, is flourishing in the area. The company also handles trucking, heavy hauling and rigging as well as forklift rental.

Currently, Bryson is working at Daytona International Speedway, where a large, upscale reconstruction of the infield and pit area is currently under way. Bryson is changing all the signage for the Nextel Cup Series. (Nextel is replacing Winston as the Cup’s sponsor.)

“We’re using a Grove TMS 900E on site,” said Jimmy, noting the company just purchased the crane about two months ago from Craig Corbett of Southeastern Crane in Tampa, FL.

“We chose the crane because of its versatility for traveling on the road and the legal roadable weight to move the crane from site to site,” he explained. “It’s a very high-tech crane. As you travel to the job you have 142 feet of boom plus 56 feet of jib on board at all times.”

Bryson is using the crane, which is only one of four TMS 900Es in use in Florida, to mainly place the Nextel signs on the Nextel tower seating area.

“The boom length that the crane carries on board with it was sufficient to do the lifting,” Jimmy said. “The top of the signage was about 160 feet and it was a quick setup for the crane and for the sign work.”

Jimmy also noted the importance of the TMS 900E’s counterweight configuration, which comes in handy when traveling. “The crane’s capacities are comparable to a 70-ton crane with traveling counterweight of 8,600 pounds,” he said. “As needed, the counterweights can be added to a total of 31,500 pounds, for maximum capacities of 100 tons and also with working radiuses to 190 feet. This is good for the customer as well as for us when moving in and off the project so as not to disturb the normal functions of the racetrack.

“The visual look of the crane also is very appealing and exciting to see because the way it’s structured,” he added. “With aluminum wheels and aluminum carrier coverage, it really dresses up well.”

Since Bryson has owned the TMS 900E, it has been used on at least 20 different jobs, including placing air conditioners and modular houses and offloading heavy equipment.

“Customers like the crane’s ability for setup and the reasonable amount of space on a job site,” said Jimmy. “And the crane functions are very controllable and smooth for specialized lifting.”

Bryson Crane Service has owned and operated Grove cranes since 1966, when company founder, Les Bryson, purchased one of the first Groves in Nashville.

“We like their lifting capacities and the workmanship of the machinery they build,” said Jimmy. “It’s always proven to be adequate for the needs we have as well as standing up to time.”

Jimmy said the company has, and is still using, a 1974 TMS 300 Grove. Bryson also has a number of Groves that are 20 years old working on a daily basis.

Working and Living in Daytona Beach

With 18 employees, Bryson Crane Service owns 15 cranes, which include Grove, Terex and Demag. They range from a 10-ton capacity to a 150-ton capacity.

“Our work ranges from furnishing crane needs for condominium construction projects on the beach to residential trusses or any kind of crane need there is,” Jimmy explained. “A lot of our work is scheduled on a day-by-day basis. Some of it is a long-term schedule. We go from hourly and daily to weekly and monthly rentals. We may have one crane on three jobs a day and sometimes there’s a crane on a job for three months.”

Jimmy noted the largest job the company has undertaken thus far is Harborside Village, a residential community in Ponce Inlet, FL. That project lasted approximately a year and a half.

“We’ve done some things around here that are kind of fun as well,” said Jimmy, noting the numerous seasonal events in the area, including Bike Week, MTV’s Spring Break and NASCAR Race Week functions. “We do so many things during all the events. When they made the movie Days of Thunder with Tom Cruise, we did some special effect lifting for the production company with the cranes. And, when somebody needs a piano on their balcony –– we do things like that, too.”

For more information, call 386/252-5605.