Linder’s newly revamped management team includes (L-R) John Coughlin, president; Bill Winters, vice president of sales; Bob Olejneczak, executive vice president of sales and marketing; and Michelle Fain, sales and marketing manager.
Numbered among the top Southeast equipment distributors, Linder Industrial Machinery has diversified offerings when it comes to equipment. In addition to being one of the largest Komatsu dealers in North America, Linder represents many other lines of equipment including Wirtgen milling machines; Vogele pavers; Hamm compaction products; Kleemann crushing products; Atlas Copco drill, compressor, generator and hydraulic attachments; Genesis demolition and scrap attachments; Exodus scrap handlers; Esco, Hensley and Superior Brooms.
Linder has 16 locations in key cities throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. This allows for quick service response time and local parts accessibility. Linder’s corporate office is in Plant City, Fla., along with one of its main branches. Linder’s other main Florida branches are in Jacksonville and Pembroke Pines, with additional branches in Ft. Myers, Ocala, Orlando and West Palm Beach.
The North Carolina branches are in Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Greenville, and Wilmington; and the South Carolina branches are in Columbia, Greer and North Charleston. Full service capabilities are offered in Raleigh, Charlotte, Columbia and Greer.
In all three states, technicians are dispatched from the main locations so that field service capabilities are available at all stores. A full sales staff is located in each of Linder’s facilities. Linder also handles responsibilities in southeast Georgia.
The 57-year-old company began in 1953 when Scott Linder Sr. and James Cox opened offices in Lakeland, Fla. The company’s growth and expansion have continued through the subsequent decades. By 1975 Linder had become the exclusive distributor of Komatsu equipment in the state of Florida, excluding the panhandle. A merger in 1989 brought Linder together with H.F. Mason Equipment Company, which was a fellow Florida equipment distributor that had been founded in 1941. In 1996 SMS International Co. purchased Linder. In 2003, Linder acquired the Mitchell Distributing Company, and with it 10 locations in North and South Carolina. During the course of Linder’s history, manufacturers have repeatedly recognized the company for excellence, bestowing both the Chairman’s Award and the President’s World Class Award, among other citations.
Changing of the Guard
Today, Linder continues to maintain its reputation among the region’s construction professionals by emphasizing service and product support in 2010. To this end, Linder announced its new management team, created to focus even more on these company values.
Effective April 1, John Coughlin became Linder’s new company president. Coughlin comes to the position with first-hand knowledge of the workings of heavy equipment dealerships. He has held positions at Komatsu and Komatsu dealerships for more than 30 years, thereby bringing with him the knowledge and experience from the dealer and manufacturer’s perspective. His career has always been in the product support arena. This background as well as his customer-centric leadership focus will provide Linder with tools and vision needed to maintain the successes of the past and to move the company forward, according to the company.
Linder’s newly revamped management team also includes veteran people in new positions and new locations. Bob Olejniczak (well known as “Bob O” in the industry) has been made executive vice president of sales and marketing. Bob O joined Linder in 2003 when Mitchell Distributing Company was acquired. Prior to joining Linder, Bob O had a successful career at Columbus Equipment Company. Working closely with Bob O, Bill Winters, who came to Linder in 2006, will now fill the role of vice president in charge of sales. Both gentlemen bring extensive heavy equipment sales experience and knowledge to their positions.
Michelle Fain, who has more than 13 years of industry manufacturer and dealership sales and marketing experience, is the sales and marketing manager. Fain joined Linder in 2007 as general manager of its utility division.
Neil Thie, general parts manager, has more than 17 years of parts management experience. Thie joined Linder in 2005, after beginning his career at a Midwest Komatsu dealer, Roland Machinery.
Jeff Cox, former president and CEO, is now the company’s Chairman Emeritus.
As he settles into his role as president, Coughlin sees Linder “evolving into a product support powerhouse.” To that end, Coughlin said that, “We are expanding our services by getting into more specialized types of offerings. In addition, we are sending more maintenance trucks to service our clients’ equipment. Many contractors have downsized their maintenance staffs in order to reduce overhead in a tough economy. We have been able to demonstrate to our clients that we can provide quick service and get on and off their site with limited expense to them,” Coughlin stated.
Coughlin further explained the company’s new strategy,
“Because we can see the direction of the current market, we know that the service and product support side of this business will become even more important to our customers. If Linder’s focus is targeted on those areas, selling equipment becomes a much simpler job. With the economy not as strong now and with customers keeping their equipment longer, there are fewer numbers of unit sales. The focus on the product support side is critical.”
In addition to its renewed focus on product support, Linder has made changes based on what customers have said. Those changes include adding Superior Brooms to the product lineup to expand on its road building and technologies offerings and becoming an Exodus dealer at the request of Komatsu customers who asked for more products for the recycling industry.
“I know that I speak for the entire management team when I say that our employees are the key to our previous and future successes. The management and product lines enhancements that have been made will not have the success that we plan without our employees. Our employees and their willingness to do what’s right for our customers are what make Linder the powerhouse that we are.” said Coughlin. CEG
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