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Founder Reflects on the Early Years of National Attachments

All of Scott Guimond’s life he has been around construction equipment.

Thu November 13, 2014 - National Edition
CEG


Scott Guimond looks on as Nye attachments help out at Ground Zero.
Scott Guimond looks on as Nye attachments help out at Ground Zero.
Scott Guimond looks on as Nye attachments help out at Ground Zero. This extreme duty 10-yd. (7.6 m) rock bucket moved 2 million yds. of hard rock attached to a Hitachi EX 1100. Jack Nye, president of Nye Manufacturing Limited, helps demonstrate the size of a bucket. Scott Guimond (R) during his first tour of the Nye factory in 1992. Scott Guimond (R) and his son Gabe at the national demolition show. The digital concrete pulverizer is an extreme duty concrete pulverizer with a steel ripper attached to its upper jaw. (L-R) are Scott Guimond, president National Attachments; Gabe Guimond, vice president of sales; Scott Guimond II, vice president of procurement; and Kathy Guimond, CFO. The stump harvester has been called “the Swiss army knife of land clearing.” Nye grapples are now used in the most extreme conditions from coast-to-coast in the United States.

All of Scott Guimond’s life he has been around construction equipment. For parts of the 1970s he worked as a carpenter for a major construction firm in Maine called Cianbro. In the early 1980s he had started his own landscaping and grounds maintenance company.

In 1984, a visit to Thompson Machine, a local construction equipment dealership in Maine, brought him a new tractor, a new job as a sales representative and, eventually, the idea for a new business.

While enjoying success selling heavy equipment, including winning several performance awards and trips (one to Hawaii for being the top Mitsubishi performer in the country) Guimond noticed that there was an increase in interest from his customers about the attachments that could be used with the equipment that he was selling. People often asked where they could purchase a thumb, tilting ditching bucket, couplers and items like hydraulic breakers, he recalled.

The attachments business was in its infancy; the concept of a third valve on an excavator was virtually unheard of. While equipment dealerships were focused on selling machinery, there was not a lot of focus or attention paid to the attachments that went with that equipment. In Europe and Japan the concept that excavators should be multi-functional was just starting to catch on.

Guimond identified that the potential for growth in the attachments industry was extraordinary and decided to start a company focusing on that area.

A Business Is Born

“I knew that the demand was there and I felt that if I had focused 100 percent of my attention to the attachments industry there was endless potential,” Guimond said. “I immediately went to work creating alliances with construction equipment attachment manufactures that I felt I could do a good job representing. One company in particular that was headquartered in Toronto, Canada, caught my attention.”

That company was Nye Manufacturing Limited.

Well-known in Canada for building some of the most rugged, overbuilt construction equipment attachments, Nye had no presence in the United States.

“I was absolutely blown away by what I saw at the factory in Canada,” Guimond said. “The attachments they were manufacturing were of extreme quality. The visual impact of each piece screamed rugged. Each and every piece was individually built to order. Each one was a work of art.”

The product offerings produced by Nye were exactly the items that Guimond was looking for that included buckets, grapples, pulverizers, thumbs and coupling systems.

Guimond worked out an agreement with Jack Nye, president of Nye Manufacturing. In exchange for making National Attachments its exclusive distributor in the United States, Guimond would make Nye a household name among U.S. construction firms, equipment dealers, recyclers and demolition professionals.

Guimond’s first line of attack with Nye and National Attachments was to get his product in front of local major construction companies in Maine, some of which he had already established relationships with. Companies like Cianbro, Foglio Incorporated, Shaw Brothers and Grondin Construction were soon regularly equipping their excavators and loaders with attachments purchased from National Attachments.

Some of these attachments are still being used by these companies and have actually outlasted the original carriers five-fold.

Since that time National Attachments has grown to represent more than 100 manufacturers of quality attachments from all over the world.

“One of the key ingredients to our success has been our employees focus on a single area locating the best possible attachment to meet the challenges of our individual customer’s needs,” Guimond said.

Off and Running

In 1996, Guimond decided it was time to introduce his company to contractors outside of the New England area.

“I met with the people at Construction Equipment Guide. I had been reading the publication for years and decided that it would be a wonderful tool to expand the reach of National Attachments.

“At that time the company was made up of myself, my wife Kathy and one other employee. Despite our size we came out of the gate doing full-page advertisements and immediately our phone started ringing off the hook. National Attachments was off and running.

“We started introducing the Nye product to contractors at industry trade shows across the country. We got involved with industry groups like the National Demolition Association and ISRI. The acceptance of the Nye product was immediate. In 1996, we exhibited at ConExpo and introduced National Attachments to the world.”

About this time National Attachments sold its first order to a large demolition firm previously known as CST Environmental. Today it is one of National Attachments’ largest customers with more than 100 pieces in its fleet. Soon after, a 10-yd. (7.6 m) extreme service rock bucket was sold to the Trumbull Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pa., to put on a Hitachi EX 1100. That bucket moved more than 2 million yds. of shot rock in one year and is still in service to this day.

National Attachments is very much a family business. Guimond’s wife Kathy started out in a part-time position while their family was being raised. Today, she serves as the company’s CFO. Guimond’s two sons, Gabe and Scott II, are the vice presidents of sales, and his daughter, Kate, heads up the company’s marketing department.

In 2001, National Attachments got the call that its equipment was needed at Ground Zero. Under extreme circumstances that equipment had never been tested in before the Nye products held up without a single failure.

“Visiting that site was emotionally draining but inspiring at the same time. Lives were at stake. We needed to help in any way possible. The sense of urgency couldn’t have been any higher,” Guimond said.

“National Attachments prides itself on its personal relationships with their customers. Many of our customers today are the same people that helped us get started 25 years ago and for that we are very grateful. We have sold thousands of attachments all over the world and each one is handled like it was the only order we were working on that day.”

In 2005, National Attachments patented the digital concrete pulverizer, an extreme-duty concrete pulverizer, with a four-positioned ripper attached to its upper jaw. The digital pulverizer, designed by Scott Guimond and Mark Nye, is an invaluable tool on a demolition site where concrete is being processed and demolished, according to the company.

“The pulverizer’s digit allows stockpiles to be manipulated; it lets you square up the product to the jobs or drag items for processing closer to you. It’s just like adding an index finger to a hand that never had one before; it makes a concrete pulverizer far more functional. The sales of the digital pulverizer have been phenomenal to the demolition industry,” Guimond said.

Another product that National Attachments has seen tremendous growth with is the Nye stump harvester. A Swiss Army knife of land clearing, the stump harvester excavates, cleans, shears and loads stumps just like a grapple.

National Attachments has nearly a dozen of these stump harvesters working in the Marcellus Shale fields, as well as hundreds of others operating throughout the world.

Realizing that not all contractors are going to have the need or the resources to invest in extreme-duty attachments such as those manufactured by Nye, National Attachments also represents manufacturers of tools for the buyer that is cost conscious.

Looking Ahead

After 25 years in the business Guimond still sees tremendous growth for the application of new and exciting attachments for the construction industry.

“Europe and Asia is where the real innovation is coming from. They have very confined spaces to work with and the engineering is cutting edge. I guarantee you something is being used or considered there today that none of us have any knowledge of that will transform how attachments are used tomorrow. My job and the jobs of my entire family is to identify those products and bring them to market in the United States. We’re trying to define the market and always be ahead of the curve.”