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Jones Brings Back Atlantic Coast Cranes & Machinery

Thu August 09, 2012 - Southeast Edition
CEG


Effective Nov. 15, 2011, Atlantic Coast Cranes & Machinery Inc. (ACC) was back in business in Ashland, Va.
Effective Nov. 15, 2011, Atlantic Coast Cranes & Machinery Inc. (ACC) was back in business in Ashland, Va.
Effective Nov. 15, 2011, Atlantic Coast Cranes & Machinery Inc. (ACC) was back in business in Ashland, Va. Owner Wally Jones sees steady growth for his company as the crane industry continues to recover from the low point in 2010.

Effective Nov. 15, 2011, Atlantic Coast Cranes & Machinery Inc. (ACC) was back in business in Ashland, Va.

Owner Wally Jones originally started Atlantic Coast Cranes & Machinery in 1991 with his colleague of 40 years, Dennis Samuel. The dealership included only two lines: American crane products and JLG boom trucks.

That original company grew into a full-service Terex American and Terex Demag dealer serving Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and the Carolinas. It offered parts and service for American, P & H, Lorain, Northwest, Bucyrus-Erie, Koehring, Bantam, R.O. Stinger and Demag. In addition, back then, the company was an authorized dealer for Shuttlelift and Straddlelift cranes. Besides selling new cranes, the company bought, sold and traded used cranes worldwide and offered rent-to-purchase options, as well.

In July 2005, Jones, intent on pursuing other interests, sold his company to Stafford. But late last year, Stafford made the decision to leave the equipment business. This allowed Jones the opportunity to re-establish his company with the same name, phone number and Web site (accranes.com) that he had established in 1994. Jones was more than happy to do so, having realized how much he enjoyed the crane industry and his customers and friends there.

As ACC returns to the crane business, it has switched its focus some from the old days, putting a few new twists into the familiar name. The new ACC is a dealer for Tadano and Mantis cranes and has access to many leading brands. Today, ACC also can “handle any need when it comes to crawler cranes, offering the purchase of new and used cranes including multiple financing options and providing full service on any crane,” according to Jones. The company also provides parts and service for all manufacturers of cranes and heavy equipment.

Another big accomplishment for Jones and his team is the founding of another company, Lightning Protection Cranes LLC. Jones’s new company, which began retail operations on Jan. 1, 2012, offers LPC lighting and surge protection systems for big mobile crawler cranes.

“Who had a need for lightning and surge protection system for cranes until very recently?” Jones asked. “Modern cranes have expensive computers, angle sensors and load cells and rotec bearings, and those systems need protection, so establishing this business seemed like a natural step to take. Our customers were seeking solutions to these problems and we have developed just that.”

Lightning strikes and the dangerous surges and transients induced by lightning represent a direct threat to people, building facilities, electrical and electronic equipment and of course, mobile cranes. Lightning Protection Cranes LLC recognizes that no single technology can protect a crane from the damaging effects of lightning and induced transients. These can severely damage or destroy electronic systems, including LMI computers, load cells and other electronic components as well as structural components, such as rotec swing bearings, hydraulic cylinders, etc., found on today’s heavy lift cranes — both crawlers and rubber-tired models. An integrated approach is required to provide effective direct strike protection and grounding, in combination with effective surge protection, so that computers, load cells and all other sensitive, expensive electrical components remain secure and safe and downtime is eliminated. Protection kits are available for all of the leading crawler crane brands in the marketplace.

“In order to provide the optimum level of protection, Lightning Protection Cranes LLC has developed a comprehensive plan of protection, incorporating direct strike protection and grounding and surge protection for electrical crane components,” said Jones. “This protection plan, combined with a leading engineering and manufacturing company, ERICO, established in 1903, has helped position Lightning Protection Cranes LLC to become a global supplier of premium performance protection products for the mobile heavy lift crane market. This product has never been offered to the mobile crane industry until now.”

Among all the changes for ACC and Lightning Protection Cranes LLC, there are a few constants. Jones brought back his experienced staff consisting of Dennis Samuel, operations manager; Dee Carter, corporate secretary; and Barry Katzin, shop manager. These three comprise the nucleus of the employees from the original ACC, giving the newly re-formed ACC staff a combined 100-plus years of industry experience. Master Crane Technicians Pete Pawluk and Larry Chamberlain bring a combined 60-plus years of crane service experience onboard, as well.

Jones noted that through all his years in the crane industry, he has formed many valuable business relationships and friendships, many of which are with him in these new ventures.

“I have a customer, Steve Burnley, owner of Central Contracting, who has been my friend and customer since 1969,” he said. “We just returned from a two-week trip to Ireland, Barcelona and Munich. Steve’s company has been a customer for 43 years, but most importantly, Steve has been a friend for all those years.”

Mike and Joe Bongiovanni, owners of M.A. Bongiovanni in Syracuse, N.Y., have been customers of Jones’s for 20 years.

“The very first crane sold by the original Atlantic Coast Cranes & Machinery Inc. was a used 1972 American 9299 that M.A. Bongiovanni still owns,” Jones said. “The 9299 has a long history, as I sold it to Williams Crane & Rigging new in 1972 and delivered it to the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant on a very rush-order basis. It was delivered in six days by rail, from St. Paul, Minn., to North Anna, Va., to Bongiovanni, the second and current owner.”

The most recent crane purchased (summer of 2011) by M.A. Bongiovanni from ACC is a Terex HC 165. Currently, it is in use on a wastewater treatment plan project in Williamsport, Pa., where M.A. Bongiovanni is the prime contractor. The $35 million project involves expansion of the existing treatment plant, including new clarifiers, filters, headworks, a chlorine contact tank and extensive yard piping. The project began in November 2010 and is expected to be complete by November 2013. Despite the challenges of a very tight job site, the project remains on schedule, with 50 people assigned to the job. Bongiovanni has at least six cranes purchased from Jones and ACC on this major project.

Jones sees steady growth for his company as the crane industry continues to recover from the low point in 2010.

“We have weathered the changes [in the economy] and in the crane industry, by being flexible, moving from domestic to foreign export business, from crawler cranes to rubber-tired, from new cranes to used and back and forth as change dictates,” he said. “The business has become much more sophisticated on many fronts — for example, financial requirements. I remember vividly when one of my largest customers bought his first crane for more than $1 million. Now it is not unusual to sell cranes that cost more than $5 million dollars, and we have some cranes that are priced at more than $35 million. The cranes just keep getting bigger and more sophisticated, while they are much easier to operate and move due to constant improvement and innovation.”

With ACC back in business, equipped with some new ideas and services, and Lightning Protection Cranes LLC established, Jones is looking forward to many more years with his customers (longtime and new) and friends.

“The crane industry thrives on people-to-people, personal relationships, and that is what I care most about,” he said.

For more information, call 804/798-4500, or visit accranes.com.