Kenworth of Buffalo Finds Success Despite Lagging Economy

Tue May 22, 2012 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Municipal trucks are prepped for delivery of Kenworth’s Buffalo, N.Y., location.
Municipal trucks are prepped for delivery of Kenworth’s Buffalo, N.Y., location.
Municipal trucks are prepped for delivery of Kenworth’s Buffalo, N.Y., location. Dan Penska (L), vice president and general manager, and Dennis Dintino, president, both of Kenworth of Buffalo.

Kenworth of Buffalo, a Kenworth truck distributor with locations spanning across the Mohawk River or New York State Thruway corridor of upstate New York, was recently recognized with a Gold Award. The award, which was presented at the annual Kenworth dealer meeting, recognizes top-performing Kenworth dealerships that have excelled well beyond industry executives, according to the company.

Kenworth of Buffalo was purchased by Dennis Dintino in 2005. Under his leadership the company’s sales have tripled, despite the down economy.

“From my previous experience I already knew that the Kenworth truck was the best product line building the best trucks available on the market,” Dintino said. “I felt strongly that if we made the right moves to improve the quality of our facilities, have the proper levels of parts inventory, and to put the best trained technicians available in place, that the company would experience tremendous growth. That has proven to be the case.”

Dintino previously worked as president of the Buffalo-based HazMat Environmental Group. From this background he drew an understanding of the needs of a large fleet owner, he said.

Shortly after the purchase of the company, work began starting with making dramatic improvements at all of the franchise’s locations. The Buffalo, N.Y., facility was first, with the construction of a brand new 25,000 sq. ft. facility, followed by new facilities in Rochester, Syracuse, and most recently, the opening of a brand new location on Central Avenue in Albany.

“In addition to facility enhancements, we now have $3 million worth of parts in inventory,” Dintino said. “We have a well trained, well qualified staff of 135 people. All of our technicians are receiving ongoing factory training, assuring that they are totally qualified to address any service needs of a Kenworth truck. Our sales staff has also received extensive Kenworth factory training to assure that they are equipped with the proper knowledge to match up the right truck with the needs of the buyer.”

Dan Penska, vice president and general manager, has been working closely with Dintino to reach the objectives. Those objectives included growing the company’s share of the New York municipal market.

“Five years ago our market share in the municipal arena was zero. Today 20 percent of our business is in the municipal area,” Penska said.

“One of our biggest obstacles in bringing the Kenworth trucks to acceptance among municipalities was the truck itself. Kenworth trucks have a great reputation but there were aspects of the truck that were not built with municipalities in mind. Primarily, the truck did not have the solid front frame extensions necessary to hang plows from.

“We had to make the case to Kenworth that making design modifications to their trucks to handle front end plows was worth the investment on their part. Kenworth listened and as a result we are now able to offer New York State municipalities a high quality snow removal option that they had never seen before; the reliability of a Kenworth truck, an aluminum cab, which eliminates concern over rot, and creature comforts that many municipal truck operators have not had,” Penska said.

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