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H&E Finalizes Acquisition of JW Burress

Thu September 06, 2007 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

John Engquist is noticeably excited about his job right now.

The energy stems from the finalization of H&E Equipment Service’s acquisition of JW Burress Sept. 1.

Engquist, H&E’s president and CEO, sees a lot of room for growth in its new territory, which covers Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. JW Burress had 12 locations in those four states.

Although the name on the buildings will change, Engquist said the faces inside will not.

“I think Burress has strong management and a lot of smart people working for them,” he said, and he’s confident in the reputation these people have built among customers in the Mid-Atlantic.

“They’re regarded as a premier distributor both by the manufacturers they represent and the end users they serve,” Engquist said.

The biggest growth opportunity Engquist sees as his company moves in and starts the transformation is the rent-to-rent market.

He said Burress has always had a strong rent-to-own business, but sees an opportunity to attract new customers looking to rent equipment for a particular project.

Some of Burress’ current facilities are on the smaller end and Engquist said H&E has plans to renovate some locations, as well as add new locations within the footprint of the territory.

The H&E team has had experience in the merging of two companies before. It was formed in 2002 with the merger of the Baton Rouge, La.-based Head & Engquist and the Salt Lake City-based ICM. From that experience, Engquist said he learned the importance of integrating the companies’ information systems as soon as possible to make the transition easier for everyone involved. Also, H&E’s senior management will be in the field as much as possible.

“That’s very much a part of the integration process,” he said. “We take a hands-on approach and get very involved at the local level.”

H&E now has 62 full-service facilities throughout the United States. It specializes in aerial work platform equipment, cranes, earthmoving equipment and industrial lift trucks. The former Burress locations will maintain nearly all of its current brands including Diamond Z, Doosan, Kawasaki, Manitowoc, Grove and Terex. H&E will not continue to represent Hitachi. CEG Staff

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