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Family-Owned JESCO Closes in on 40 Years of Success

Tue March 30, 2010 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

From their roots as a small equipment dealership, to their position today as an award-winning John Deere dealer and one of New Jersey’s equipment dealerships, one thing has always remained consistent at JESCO — the Robustelli family ownership.

Founded in the early 70’s by Lou Robustelli and his wife Terry, the Jersey Equipment Sales Company, now known as JESCO, had one of the necessary elements of success right from the start, experience in the construction industry. With deep roots in contracting, Lou Robustelli fully understood the equipment he was selling, was completely able to relate to a contractors’ needs and knew what type of product and service support would be required to not only gain customers, but also to maintain and build a business relationship with them. This background in the industry was the foundation for JESCO’s early success and for the success they continue to realize today.

In 1972, JESCO forged a strategic partnership with John Deere, becoming an exclusive dealer of Deere products. To kick off this new relationship, JESCO purchased the assets of Jersey Tractor Company in Greenbrook, N.J., making this their first Deere location. Since that time, they have acquired three additional Deere dealerships. With each acquisition came an expanded territory of coverage. Today, JESCO is the sole John Deere Construction & Forestry Equipment dealer in New Jersey.

JESCO began with a modest 19 employees their first year in business. Currently, the company employs more than 100 people, have sold more than 2,000 machines over the past four years, operate 3 branch locations and boast a near 30 percent market share.

In 1982, JESCO built a new headquarters in South Plainfield, N.J., to support their growth. This facility remains their primary location today, with two supporting locations in Lumberton and Fairfield. These three strategic locations allow JESCO to provide product, sales and service support to their statewide customer base.

When Lou Robustelli resigned his position as president of JESCO in July of 2005, he began to rely on Jon Robustelli, his son and successor to run the day-to-day operations. Prior to being named president, Jon managed JESCO’s Lumberton branch and later served as the company’s vice president. Lou’s son Cris Robustelli also is active in the family business. Cris is the MIS manager and is responsible for the infrastructure development and technological aspects of JESCO.

Prior to taking over the reigns at JESCO, Jon Robustelli worked closely with Lou to gain a clear understanding of the business and to maintain the family oriented nature of the company. Although the ownership has changed, the long-standing management team, expertise and focus on customer service remain in place.

“JESCO is built around people,” stated Robustelli. “People who can help customers make the right equipment decisions, select the right financing plan and keep our contractor customers up and running. We have a steadfast focus on customer service, that’s why we adopted the slogan ’The Down to Earth Equipment People’ and that’s why you’ve seen and will continue to see JESCO equipment on signature job sites throughout the state.”

Shortly after the transition from father to son, Jon Robustelli implemented an extremely aggressive growth strategy. An initial part of this strategy was to make the Bomag Roller and Indeco Hydraulic Breaker lines they represent more of a focal point. By enhancing their commitment to the sale of these products, JESCO began to supplement their traditional focus on residential building and broaden their customer base.

Due to their enhanced focus on allied product lines, JESCO become more attractive to larger contractors as a single source sales and rental equipment dealership. As this segment of their customer base grew, they wanted to ensure they did not lose ground with their existing customers by spreading their sales force too thin. To avoid this, JESCO hired dedicated personnel and implemented a Signature Customer Program to specifically work with these accounts.

“With new products and an increasing customer base, additional staff members and special programs allow us to continue to service our long-standing customers,” Robustelli said.

To further benefit their customers, JESCO added several other product lines as well.

Today, in addition to John Deere’s line of earthmoving equipment, Bomag Rollers and INDECO Breakers, JESCO offers Hitachi Construction & Mining Equipment, Hypac Compaction Equipment, Bomag Paving and Milling Equipment, Hydrema Multi-Tip Dump Trucks and Genesis Demolition Tools.

In recent years, JESCO also has begun to focus on smaller sized contractors. Noting an increase in light equipment sales across New Jersey, Robustelli added a dedicated compact equipment division in 2006, enhancing JESCO’s growth potential in this arena. With a separate sales force and sales manager, JESCO personnel provide smaller sized contractors with the same dedicated focus and level of customer service that all JESCO customers have come to expect.

In addition to main line products and attachments, JESCO offers customers a wide variety of optional equipment on the brands they sell.

“In recent years, there has been significant advancement in technology across the construction industry,” stated Cris Robustelli. “The JESCO staff receives training on these new technologies as they become available so that we can help our customers make the best buying decisions and get the most out of their equipment.”

Telematics is a growing technology that JESCO offers through John Deere’s JD Link and Hitachi’s ZXLink wireless equipment management systems. The hardware component is integrated into the machine’s electrical system to monitor location, functions, hours, fuel information, alerts and other essential machine data. This data is then sent remotely to the system and is accessible to customers 24/7 via computer. When customers subscribe to this service, they can proactively monitor, protect and maintain their equipment to ensure they are making the best use of their fleet.

In addition to Telematics, John Deere has partnered with Topcon and Trimble to offer factory ready grade control technology on all Deere machines, an increasingly popular feature. Customers may also opt to have their Deere production class loaders outfitted with a Loadrite Scale. Other features offered by Deere that JESCO has available to their customers are slurry coated bushings and max-life undercarriages which offer extended life for crawlers.

“John Deere and the other manufacturers we represent have done an excellent job of incorporating the new technologies available into their equipment to help our customers perform better on the job and in the end run a more profitable business,” stated Anthony Falzarano, vice president of sales for JESCO.

JESCO is not only dedicated to their customers and employees, but also to making a difference in the communities in which they operate.

“We pride ourselves in creating jobs, providing training, and supporting local charities and educational events. We also continually try to minimize our environmental impact,” stated Cris Robustelli.

JESCO recently joined forces with Cleaire to offer retrofit engine devices for all brands of construction equipment. This technology allows contractors to meet the increasingly stringent air quality standards on construction jobs, while proactively protecting the local environment in which they work. JESCO also offers biodegradable fluids for the equipment they sell. These services allow customers to bid on and win jobs in environmentally sensitive areas.

JESCO’s involvement with Deere extends much deeper than equipment sales. As a high-performing Deere dealer, JESCO staff members have been asked to and have represented the company on a variety of Deere dealer committees to share their success and expertise with other dealers.

“We enjoy participating on these committees for John Deere,” stated Eric Paterno, sales manager for JESCO. “They allow us to help Deere improve upon their products and services, which in turn allows us to provide better equipment and services to our customers.”

Jon Robustelli serves as president of the John Deere Construction & Forestry Dealer Association and has chaired the Credit and Finance Partner Project Team. Falzarano is a member of the sales and marketing team and has served on the Dealer Advocacy Group (DAG) for the excavator and articulated hauler product lines. Paterno serves as a member of the four wheel drive loader DAG and Dennis Casey, product support manager for JESCO, is a member of the Tier IV Engine Emissions DAG, Cris Robustelli serves on the Partner Project Team for IT and Administration and Emilio Pescatore, government sales manager for JESCO, serves on the Marketing Communications Board. In addition to consistently receiving awards and accolades from Deere, JESCO has been named a top dealer by both Bomag and INDECO.

In December 2009, JESCO welcomed the president of John Deere and members of Deere’s senior management team for the third time in 4 years. Deere personnel visited with JESCO employees and signature customers to help them continue their business success and to thank them for their dedication to the Deere brand.

Although JESCO has grown exponentially since 1972, the original family atmosphere upon which they were founded can still be observed today. Steady growth and a high level of repeat business demonstrate that this formula continues to be a successful approach.

“Each employee and customer at JESCO is integral to the company’s continued success,” stated Jon Robustelli. “We work very hard to communicate this to everyone we work with and to everyone who works for us.”

JESCO’s success has long surpassed Lou Robustelli’s original vision. Today he enjoys being chairman of the board of directors and watching his children continue to grow the business he established nearly 40 years ago. Jon and Cris Robustelli and the entire JESCO staff remain focused on continuing to provide the equipment and customer service that have fueled their success.

JESCO has been a member of the AGC of New Jersey for over 23 years and is actively involved in many other trade associations throughout the state and nationally. The AGC of New Jersey is proud to have JESCO as a member and wishes them the best of success in years to come.

This story was reprinted with permission from AGCNJ Constructor Magazine, Issue 2-2010.

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