On June 3, after 38 years in business, Industrial Tractor Company’s Cassidy family is officially exiting the business. Beard Equipment Company, based in Mobile, Ala., acquired the company’s three Florida locations — Jacksonville, Lake City and Palatka.
Now a seven-branch operation, Beard will serve its new marketplace with the same product lines that were previously carried, including: John Deere construction, forestry and CWP products, Hitachi, Bomag, and NorAm products. It will add the Terex Cedarapids paver line to its newest locations and company officials stated that other new product lines may come about from the acquisition.
“Timing and the market conditions were right for this,” said Beard General Manager Drew DeLaney. “We’re prepared for market recovery mode and we’re excited to have more opportunities for our employees. I think this will translate into better service to the customer and enrichment for our employees.
“We feel the additional locations give us some market diversity,” DeLaney continued. “Alabama versus Florida, the cycles are a little different. Having a larger territory gives us the opportunity to have more models in stock, not just more quantities, but additional depth of the models that we didn’t traditionally stock in the past. It also gives us a larger rental and used fleet to draw from as well.”
Beard plans on making improvements where necessary. Upgrades have already included adding new personnel, specifically in the product support department. Approximately 90 percent of the existing Industrial Tractor Company staff was retained.
“The acquisition increases our employee count by about 20 percent and our inventory by about 25 percent,” said DeLaney. “We feel the growth will improve our ability to service customers and make us more competitive in our current and new marketplaces.”
DeLaney said that the company intends to increase its level of service at the new branches, including key areas in the CSA, parts and service departments.
“We expect to grow used equipment sales and increase the focus on the rental business. Beard Equipment has a long tradition of focusing on used equipment and the rental business, and I think this is something that will help with our success in Jacksonville and north Florida. Our strong used equipment and rental focus helps spread us around, helps increase our offering to our customers,” DeLaney said.
“We plan to increase our parts inventory by approximately 50 percent of what was previously carried by Industrial Tractor,” said John Dodson, Beard vice president of product support. “We’ve already added an additional CSA, and we plan on adding product support employees. We retained as many technicians as we could. As the demand grows, investing in more technicians, tooling, and inventory will be a key aspect of successful growth. We believe these investments will enable our team to deliver the service that our customers’ expect.”
The Jacksonville, Fla., branch will be Beard Equipment’s main office for the three locations in northeast Florida, and will include localized management by previous Industrial Tractor Company personnel. Mike Murphy, a 30-year veteran of the equipment industry, continues as the product support manager. Murphy has already added one CSA and is adding technicians to ramp up for growth.
Jamie Saalfield will continue to be the sales manager. He has an extensive career background in the industry working for Deere and Deere dealers.
“We provide a complete hands-on ownership approach,” added DeLaney, “including a level of engagement that has a lasting impact on our customer service and customer relationships. A strong focus on rentals, which is one of our strengths, will continue in our new locations. We’re looking towards long-term growth in our investment. Brad [Beard] guides this whole process and we feel this opportunity was strategic for the future of our dealership.”
Beard equipment Company understands the importance and urgency of getting a customer back up and running when their equipment goes down, according to Dodson.
“Our goal in product support is to help customers eliminate unnecessary downtime and increase productivity. Our investment in top notch people, training, and inventory will help us achieve that goal and better satisfy our customers’ needs,” Dodson said.
Beard Equipment Company was founded in 1970 by William Bradley Beard. Company ownership and management was passed on to his son, Brad Beard, who currently is active in the business but has passed the core management responsibilities on to the next generation.
“Our heritage and history is extremely important and speaks for itself. We’re a family owned and family run business in its third generation of leadership,” said DeLaney. “We’ve been supporting our customers for over 40 years and plan to be here for them in another 40 years. We have a solid commitment to this business and are here for the long haul.
“Our business goes back to the days when our grandfather, Bill Beard, started the business. In the early years he didn’t want a signed purchase order — he wanted a handshake and that’s all. Shake hands … you got a deal. His word was his bond. That’s the prime example of the guiding values for how we run this business. All of our managers have these same values too. We do what’s right and we care about our customers and employees. We have many on our staff that been here 20 or 30 years and I believe that’s a reflection on our company. Our morals and principles are a big key to our success.”
Six family members currently are running the business.
For more information, visit www.beardequipment.com.
(This story also can be found on Construction Equipment Guide’s Web site at www.constructionequipmentguide.com.) CEG
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