Kathy Gould is Hoffman Equipment’s new director of product support.
Hoffman Equipment recently made a move to promote Kathy Gould to be its director of product support — the first woman to hold that title at the distributorship.
An 18-year veteran of the company, Gould began her career at Hoffman in warranty administration, but has steadily risen within the firm to where she now oversees all the parts and service personnel, close to 100 people, spread across Hoffman's six branches in three states.
That management extends from the company's headquarters in Piscataway, NJ to Hoffman locations in Deptford, NJ; Lionville, PA; and to the three New York distributorships in Marlboro, Medford and Bronx.
A family-owned business since 1920, Hoffman represents: Volvo, Manitowoc, Grove, National, Astec, JCB, Bergmann, Case and many more.
The company is now owned by Tim Watters, a third-generation member of the Hoffman family to run the business. The values established by his family in the early years of the company continue to fuel its success and are focused through its customer service: an environment of trust, integrity, teamwork, honesty, commitment to each other and dedication to its loyal customers.
Learned On Her Way Up the Ladder
Gould's new job, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2022, will include keeping up the excellent attention to detail that Hoffman Equipment is noted for among builders in the New York-New-Jersey-Philadelphia region.
She worked hard to get to her new job, and over the years constantly proved herself to Hoffman management at being able to excel doing different jobs.
"After working in warranty administration, I became the service department office manager," she said. "From there, I was the parts manager before going back to the service department as an assistant manager. In the fall of 2019, I moved on to be crane service manager, which led to assuming my new role as director of product support."
In describing her new position, Gould noted that she is overseeing everybody's day-to-day activities within parts and service. In addition, she works to make sure all qualifications are met for the various manufacturers that distribute their equipment and parts through Hoffman.
Gould explained that that means she is dealing with a lot more of the dealership's personnel as well as people outside the company.
Gould admitted that the first few weeks at the new job have been a little arduous because she is slowly easing from her previous position to her new title, but she has no doubt that she has earned another "fantastic opportunity" with Hoffman.
"I am looking forward to again learning something new, after having been involved with cranes the last two years and expanding my knowledge into the Volvo and Case construction equipment lines," she said. "My motto for 2022 is ‘Learning and Growing.'"
New Role: Overseeing Hoffman's Product Support Initiatives
To better explain what she will do in her new position, Gould decided to go with a crane scenario, since she is so familiar with the process of getting them set up for service.
If, for instance, a contractor has a Manitowoc crane it obtained from Hoffman Equipment, and field work was required on it, she explained that that operator or owner would call the dealership's service department at any of its branches. All Hoffman's crane technicians are based in its Piscataway main shop, but a crane specialist would quickly be dispatched to the site of the downed Manitowoc to get it running as soon as possible.
"In my previous role, I would take the phone call, schedule it and follow the job all the way through," she said. "Now, I will get involved if there is an issue to be resolved. For instance, if a customer has a crane that has been out of warranty, let's say a month, and has a major failure, I will contact the factory to see if there is anything that can be done. We just want to make a gesture of goodwill to keep the customer and the manufacturer happy."
Bringing Expert Product Knowledge to Job
Gould's position as director of product support for a construction equipment dealer in a large market is not at all where she thought she would be in 1989, when she first worked as a receptionist for another equipment company.
Just like at Hoffman Equipment, she worked her way up to service administration at her previous companies.
Her knowledge of the business, though, as much as her inherent drive and determination, has served her well in being able to brush aside any problems others have with her gender.
"There have been times where I would receive phone calls, and 95 percent of the time it is a man at the other end of the line, and it often it is someone that has issues talking to a female about equipment service or parts," Gould revealed, adding that her technique for overcoming the issue is "to try to calm them down, and if I can't get them the information that they need immediately, I tell them one of my technicians will get back to them, or I will research with the factory to provide it to them."
In this way, Gould is calmly telling them she knows what she is doing, provides them with the steps to overcome their equipment issue and reassures them that she will see to it that their problem is solved.
"I think sometimes it takes a little longer to gain their trust," she added.
Gould Humbled By Her Opportunities
Nothing about the construction equipment business seems to dampen her enthusiasm for the industry after working in it for more than 30 years.
When asked what she liked about it, her answer was exuberant.
"Wow … it's always changing with the new models and the innovative technology that comes out each year, and equipment has changed quite a bit from when I first started," Gould said. "I guess I never thought I would get into the construction field, but I really do enjoy it."
Gould noted that, despite her obvious qualifications for her new job, she was "very humbled that everyone felt that I was the right person for the position."
She also believes that her success would also not have been possible without the support of the people with whom she works.
"I worked hard to get to where I am, but without the support of the technicians, parts personnel and administrative staff, I can't do what I do." Gould said. CEG
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