Hydraulic Machinery, Inc.

Before Hurricane Katrina roared through on Aug. 29, employees at the branch store of Great Southern Tractor Co. Inc., in Biloxi, MS, moved a pickup truck to assumed safekeeping inside the store. All hell broke loose. Winds of at least 100 mph tore away the large doors on the north and south sides of the building, lifted the roof up (opening the inside to torrential downpours of rain), spun around the interior like a miniature tornado, and knocked down the concrete-block wall that helped support the structure.

Hurricane Charley lifted Jay Clark’s 3-ton cattle feeder and dumped it a half mile away. It flattened greenhouses belonging to brothers Wayne and Colon Lambert. A packing house for strawberries and watermelon was reduced to a metal skeleton. The hurricane’s northeastern route along U.S.

Hydraulic Machinery Inc. prides itself on not being the typical rental equipment dealership. “Where most dealers sell cranes, we have the ability to custom build cranes,” said Carlton Calfee, vice president and sales manager. “We can pretty much make a crane to suit anybody’s needs.”Hydraulic Machinery, based in Tampa, FL, didn’t start out customizing truck-mounted hydraulic cranes.