Ditch Witch Midwest Gets Set to Ring in 35 Years

Sat September 24, 2005 - Midwest Edition

Rescuing a failing business will get you noticed in the business world. Just ask Earl Harbaugh, founder of Ditch Witch Midwest.

Harbaugh caught the attention of Ditch Witch Founder Ed Malzahn 35 years ago after helping turn around a Pennsylvania equipment dealer. Now Harbaugh and his company are now preparing to celebrate Midwest’s 35th anniversary with open house events at all five of its locations.

Back in Pennsylvania in 1968, one of the key decisions Harbaugh made to revitalize the ailing dealership was to introduce the Ditch Witch line of equipment, an independent line with a specialized sales force that was separate from its existing lines.

“[He] was approached by [Malzahn] about going to Illinois in 1970 and starting a distributorship, which he did when I was two,” said Mark Harbaugh, Earl’s son and general manager of Ditch Witch Midwest. “[We] pulled up stakes from Pennsylvania and moved to Illinois to start the business in Lombard.”

Mark worked for a construction company for approximately a year-and-half after college and then came back to Ditch Witch in 1992, where he was a salesman and then a sales manager before being appointed general manager in 2001.

What strikes both the first and second generation at Ditch Witch Midwest about 35 years in business are the relationships they have built.

“From both of our standpoints, the most enjoyable part over the years –– 13 for me, and his 35 –– goes back to the customers and employees,” said Mark. “We’ve made countless good friends through the years, not only as customers but personal friends, a group of quality people that makes our job fun.”

The open house celebrations will take place at the company’s branches in Kaukauna, WI, on Oct. 11; Waukesha, WI, on Oct. 13; Brownsburg, IN, on Oct. 18; Fort Wayne, IN, on Oct. 25; and Carol Stream, IL, on Oct. 27.

The events will feature a series of directional drill mud schools that will discuss drill rig maintenance and drilling techniques; a safety school; a showcase of locating and vacuum excavation equipment; and a maintenance seminar for rental stores.

Ditch Witch Midwest also will be performing equipment demonstrations along with a compact utility equipment rodeo, allowing showgoers to stop by and test their skills on its latest units.

A host of vendors –– including SubSite locating equipment and Ditch Witch Financial –– also will be on hand to display and demonstrate their latest products with parts, service and finance specials also available.

For more information, visit www.ditchwitchmidwest.com.