Discussing Kohler Pit’s Hyundai HL 960 wheel loader (L-R) are Ed Harseim, district sales manager, Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas Inc.; Jon Christine, Yes Equipment & Services Inc.; and Jim Farrell of Kohler, the machine’s operator.
Jim Farrell has driven a lot of construction equipment over his long career, and his favorite machine is the one he drives now — a Hyundai HL960 wheel loader that has furnished him with the most comfortable work days of his life.
"I can be in there 10 hours. I'm not bouncing around. It's great," Farrell said. "At my age, comfort is a big thing. There were times I'd go home, and I'd be out — from no air, from the dust. Now, I go home and do things. It's very important to me."
Although the steamy dog days of the Wisconsin summer are still months away, Farrell has already pampered himself with another of the loader's features — its air-conditioning. The inside of the cab can get warm when the sun streams through the glass, he said.
Ron Van Hammers, operations manager of Kohler Pit Inc,. shakes hands with Jon Christine, major accounts manager of Yes Equipment & Services Inc.
While Farrell likes the comfort of his Hyundai wheel loader, his employer, Kohler Pit of New Berlin, Wis., appreciates its reliability and the customer service provided by Yes Equipment & Services Inc. and its major accounts manager, Jon Christine.
"We currently have 1,400 hours on the machine," said Kohler operations manager Ron Van Hammers. "We haven't had any service work that needed to be done on it, except for basic oil changes. We're really happy with the machine. My operators are very happy with it. It's very cost-efficient. We had a super price on the machine, with many options.
"We can't say enough about the Hyundai HL960 or Yes Equipment and Jon Christine," he added.
The Hyundai wheel loader may be regarded as Kohler's early anniversary present to itself. Founded in 1920 as Kohler Sand and Gravel by brothers Ed and Vic Kohler, the company is approaching its centenary year.
August Kohler (bottom), Victor Kohler (middle) and Edward Kohler (top) man conveyor at Kohler Bros. Sand & Gravel, New Berlin, Wis., in 1928.
"They used to mine gravel with a horse and plows and stuff," said Vic's granddaughter Mary Gumieny Bultman, the controller at New Berlin Redi-Mix, an offshoot company her father founded in 1958. "It was very untechnical, and now we have gone to this century with a very high-end loader from Hyundai."
Today, Kohler Pit is an uncontaminated soil fill and dump facility that also sells recycled concrete, while New Berlin Redi-Mix offers concrete products and services throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
Any company is only as good as its employees, Bultman said, and both Kohler and New Berlin Redi-Mix have been fortunate in attracting top-notch workers who settle in for the long haul.
"Their skills and their mindset make us good," she said. "And both companies have longevity when it comes to employees. They started here when they were young men, mostly. A lot of cousins, a lot of family worked here, at both Kohler and New Berlin — a lot of family, friends.
"At our anniversary party, between the two companies, we probably had 10 to 15 people who had retired from both companies, which doesn't happen often these days."
Yes Equipment & Services Inc. also understands the value of employee loyalty.
"We believe that when we retain employees, we retain customers," said CEO Cliff Anglewicz. "Not only do we build more effective, lasting relationships, but customers like to see that we are investing in our people and new equipment to remain efficient."
Anglewicz himself is a longtime industry veteran who has been in the forklift and lift truck business for more than 35 years. He purchased a Yale dealership in 1990 and in 1993 moved his company to its 52,000-sq.-ft. facility in Menomonee Falls. In addition to Hyundai, his dealership represents Yale, JCB, Genie, Taylor-Dunn, Vermeer Forage and other brands, and over the years it has expanded to facilities in Milwaukee and Madison.
The Hyundai HL960 wheel loader has proven itself durable, cost-effective at Kohler Pit of New Berlin, Wis.
"We understand that our customers' equipment has to work all the time because down time and lost productivity are extremely expensive," Anglewicz said. "We give our customers excellent service, which keeps them coming back."
Service has not yet been an issue for Kohler's new Hyundai HL960, however. It continues its work uninterrupted out at the pit, where on any given day, Farrell can be seen working in the cab, feeling not only comfortable, but also safe.
"The visibility on the machine is amazing," he said. "With the outside mirrors, I can see everything behind me. I have a rearview mirror up in front of me, which takes care of everything. Then, if I need to, I look at the backup camera. We have trucks coming in, and you never know who's going to be around. It's very easy to back into somebody without that. It's a nice, nice machine to run.'