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Reynolds-Warren Equipment's Steve Meissen Retires, Hands Reigns to Son

Thu March 16, 2023 - Southeast Edition #6

Reynolds Warren Equipment Company’s Steve Meissen (L) has retired and named his son, Brian, president of the company.
Reynolds Warren Equipment Company’s Steve Meissen (L) has retired and named his son, Brian, president of the company.

The "changing of the guard" is an ongoing process in any organization. For Reynolds-Warren Equipment Company it took place at the end of 2022 with the retirement of Steve Meissen.

Originally from Wichita, Kan., Meissen relocated to Nashville, Tenn., in the mid-1980s for employment with spray injection asphalt patching machine manufacturer, Zimmerman. He worked his way to the position of vice president of sales/national sales manager, specializing in dealer development. However, after 15 years of "hitting the road", Meissen grew tired of the extensive travel and was looking for a better plan.

Fortunately, at this same timeframe, Joe Reynolds, one of the dealers he worked with at Reynolds Warren Equipment in Lake City, Ga., was looking towards retirement and seeking out a buyer for his business. Meissen entered into an agreement to partner with Clifford Warren to buy Reynolds-Warren Equipment Company. In August 1999, Meissen moved to metro Atlanta to start this new ownership role.

Unfortunately, Cliff Warren passed away one week after Meissen came into the ownership and it took a couple more years for Meissen to establish ownership with another business partner. This partnership was completed in 2004, and Meissen continues to serve the company as managing partner to this day.

Having started his career in the equipment business at Berry Tractor & Equipment in Kansas (an International, BOMAG and Blaw-Knox paver dealer) Meissen established a solid career path in paving equipment sales. He worked with Berry Tractor in various capacities including used equipment and sales manager — prior to his move and transition to working for a manufacturer. Before working in equipment sales, Meissen worked for a couple years in the utility's construction business.

Even in his younger years in high school and while attending Wichita State University, Meissen worked part time in the equipment rental business, which extended his 44 years in the industry to close to 50 total — a complete career dedicated to the construction and equipment industry.

Meissen leaves the role as company president in the capable hands of his son, Brian, who started with the company in 2005. Brian started on the ground floor working in the parts department, and then onward to a sales territory in south Georgia and eventually moving into a sales position in metro Atlanta.

When long time employee Bo Lowe retired in 2013 as the company's equipment manager, his role was completely restructured to include rental manager and Brian was seamlessly put into this new role, beginning the process of being groomed to be the next generation of leadership.

The last 10 years Brian has progressed into the role of general manager and now with the retirement of his father, into the role of president. During his years with the company, Brian and his dad have spearheaded a host of new endeavors, including adding another location in Richmond Hill (Savannah), Ga., and adding lines such as Dynapac and Cemen Tech.

Steve touted the company's growth.

"When we purchased the company, we had around eight or nine employees," he said. "We now have more than 30 highly-skilled employees spread throughout the state and we are market leaders for several of the brands we represent."

Meissen also said that over the years the company has increased its focus on expanding sales, service and parts efforts throughout Georgia, to be the one-stop shop for the commercial paving contractor.

"We take care of our customers in the commercial paving industry and see our service capabilities in our field as second to none," said Steve. "Brian has been an integral part of pioneering new initiatives and bringing on new equipment lines."

About Reynolds Warren Equipment Company

The company started in 1977 with Joe Reynolds having a solid reputation for taking care of his customer's needs. The business philosophy built by Joe (Reynolds) and Clifford (Warren) continues to this day: "Our number one goal — repeat customers."

The reputation for making sure a customer's equipment is up-and-running on the job has remained the same yet has been expanded and enhanced through new technologies and the ability to roll in with rental equipment — as needed during a repair.

The management staff has made great strides in improving the company over the last few years and will continue to take care of the customers going forward.

"I have a great appreciation for my customers," said Meissen. "It's been a fun journey getting to know them and gaining their trust. There's nothing more important in the business climate than trust, and this is a quality that continues and is instilled in everyone in the company."

Meissen's plan for retirement is rather simple.

"Travel with my wife Jan, enjoy the grandkids, and just enjoy life!"

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