(L-R): Parts group — Carlos Mata, Jon Ahlman, Veronica Shumway, Joel Waite and Gino D’Onofrio.
David Klingaman is quick to say he bleeds orange.
It’s not because of his allegiance to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, or for that matter any other “orange” team.
Klingaman bleeds Ditch Witch Orange — and for good reason. His relationship with the company that makes the familiar colored trenching and drilling machines goes back to his youth in Oklahoma.
Klingaman worked in the Perry, Okla., factory that produces the Ditch Witch product in the 70s, was in sales for Ditch Witch of Oklahoma and Ditch Witch of Arizona in the 80s and went on to buy the Ditch Witch of Arizona dealership in 2004. During the 11 years that followed the purchase of the dealership, many of them recession years, Klingaman and his team have more than tripled sales of the Ditch Witch product in his market area.
He is by no means standing pat on his progress. Klingaman recently tripled the size of his equipment yard, expanding in three directions, but most notably adding valuable frontage on busy I-10, just east of downtown Phoenix. Creating a berm from more than 70 loads of millings that were hauled in, his expanded equipment lines are as visible from the highway as the low flying jets at nearby Sky Harbor Airport.
In addition to the Ditch Witch line, Klingaman’s dealership now offers both Doosan’s earthmoving line and its Portable Power products, as well as Takeuchi excavators and Towmaster trailers.
Ditch Witch of Arizona now occupies 7 acres. The added space has accommodated around $3 million in expanded equipment inventory. The high visibility along I-10 is already paying off. Klingaman cited a contractor noticing the Takeuchi equipment and coming in to look at the equipment on the line. Shortly after receiving the trademark, “Ditch Witch of Arizona” service, he became the owner of a new excavator.
Additionally, there are plans and room for a Ditch Witch onsite training facility, to further serve the Ditch Witch of Arizona customer base.
Klingaman insists on crediting others for his success, from his upbringing on the family farm back in Oklahoma, to the Ditch Witch founder Ed Malzahn. He credits his Ditch Witch mentor, former owner of Ditch Witch of Oklahoma, John Bridwell, for believing in him and giving him his start in sales as well as Warren Youel, who is his dearest friend has also been his business mentor and support. Klingaman is quick to give credit to the 27 people that Ditch Witch of Arizona currently employs for truly living out the company’s slogan, “Making it Happen, From People Who Care.”
“But most of all,” he said, “I could not have done this without my business partner, Bev.” Beverly Klingaman is not only his business partner, but also his wife of 35 years. These business partners met on a blind date in 1978 in Oklahoma, married two years later, and have been partners in life ever since.
If Klingaman bleeds orange, so probably does Bev and their son-in-law, Dustin Nabors, a sales representative for the company; their two daughters Heather and Katelynn, who formerly worked for the dealership; and many of his family members who have worked at the factory in Perry, including his brother, Stan Klingaman, who has 48 years at the Ditch Witch factory.
Klingaman has worked hard to surround himself with “good people.” Currently, the staff includes six sales representatives, 18 in parts, service and rental, and three in administration. In addition to the Phoenix headquarters, the company also has a Tucson location with five of these team members.
In the Ditch Witch world, excellence is rewarded in various ways, according to Klingaman. The joint efforts of the Ditch Witch of Arizona team and the loyalty of its customers have resulted in the dealership being recognized as one of the “Top Ten” Ditch Witch dealerships globally twice in the 11 years that Klingaman has been a dealer.
The dealership is awarded “Crescent Club Membership” as a result of the “top ten” status by the Ditch Witch Factory.
Commitment to excellence, and to the customer, run deep at Ditch Witch of Arizona, and it starts at the top. No emergency call to the dealership goes unanswered — every day, including weekends, office phones are forwarded to Klingaman’s cell phone at the end of the business day. Again that service does not happen without the excellent team to “Make it Happen,” for taking care of their customers.
More than 30 years representing Ditch Witch has brought a passion that serves his customers well. The outgoing, ever positive Klingaman sees nothing but great things in the future for Ditch Witch of Arizona. He is quick to add, “Bev and I pray grace, grace, on our business, our employees and our customers daily, and truly believe that all we have and any success we have is from the Lord.”