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Whited Equipment Sees Perfect Fit for Hyundai in Southern, Western Maine

Thu February 11, 2021 - Northeast Edition #4

Hyundai has 15 different models of wheel loaders to meet the diverse needs of Maine contractors.
Hyundai has 15 different models of wheel loaders to meet the diverse needs of Maine contractors.
Hyundai has 15 different models of wheel loaders to meet the diverse needs of Maine contractors. (L-R) are Randy Mace, general manager; Terry Klemanski, inside sales and rental coordinator; and Ryan Kennard, outside sales. Whited Equipment has put more than 40 Hyundai machines in inventory, all of which are available for rent. Leigh Dwelley, (L) service manager, and Randy Mace, general manager.

Whited Truck's roots as a truck dealership started in 1985 as a Ford dealership. Operated by Bob Whited and his son, Jon, the company today has more diverse selling lines, including Peterbilt trucks; Rodgers lowbeds; Trailstar, Felling, Etnyre, Stairs and Dorsey trailers; and products not only for over the road truckers, but also trucks and trailers for the forestry industry.

Over the last several decades, the father and son duo have continuously looked for opportunities to diversify their operations, including a move in the 1990s to diversify their Auburn, Maine, facility into the RV business. The men have enjoyed a good working relationship over the years — Bob functions as CEO of the company and oversees the financial end of the business; Jon manages the day-to-day operations traveling between each of the company's four locations.

In 2020, the Whiteds made the decision to add Randy Mace to their staff as general manager. Mace brought a diverse background to the company, most recently as president of Chadwick-BaRoss, a New England construction equipment distributor, and several decades of previous experience working both in construction equipment distribution and manufacturing.

Not long after Mace joined the operation, the three men came to the joint conclusion that it was time to move on from the RV business: the 2008 recession had impacted that business dramatically and it had never seemed to completely rebound from that period.

That decision left an office complex and an equipment yard available for Whited to expand its operations into another area at the Auburn facility. It was decided to explore the availability of a construction equipment/earthmoving line that could be added to the Whited lineup of products.

"Moving in the construction and earthmoving equipment market just really seemed to make sense to us," Mace said. "We took a hard look at who our existing customer base was and saw that we were already doing business with a lot of companies that purchase construction and earthmoving equipment.

"We have a thriving business with contractors who purchase dump trucks and many other types of vehicles from us and we do very well in the logging industry. Certainly, municipalities purchase both trucks and heavy equipment. We already have an infrastructure in place to service these customers and most importantly we already have a reputation with these consumers as a good company to do business with."

After an extensive search, Whited Truck entered into an agreement with Hyundai Construction Equipment and formed a new division — Whited Equipment.

"After looking at everything that was available out there, we felt that Hyundai was the best fit for us for a number of reasons," Mace said. "The quality of the product, the quality of the people and the knowledge that they brought to the table, and the territory that they were looking to fill was a good fit for what we were looking to do.

"The territory that Hyundai had available, the nine most southern and western counties in Maine, put our Auburn store where we had based our RV operation right in the middle of the territory. It was a perfect match and we are currently equipping our Saco, Maine, facility to also work as a sales and service center for Hyundai.

"We look at Hyundai and are confident that they bring to the table the right combination of products to address the excavating, municipal, landscaping/compact equipment and forestry markets in the state of Maine. With twenty-two full-size excavators, eight compact excavators, five rubber-tired excavators and fifteen wheel loader models, they have the right size machines for virtually any application."

Servicing and supporting the customer is critically important at Whited Equipment.

At the Auburn facility, it has 15 technicians, and at the Saco facility it has 10 who are highly skilled in many aspects of diesel engine and hydraulic repairs and they are now being trained by Hyundai in whatever other areas they need to be cross-trained.

To fill the gap, Whited brought Leigh Dwelley on board. Dwelley has more than 25 years of experience in construction equipment repairs, including being the owner of his own independent repair shop.

Whited also has made a substantial investment in parts to support the nearly 40 Hyundai machines that it put into its inventory.

Whited Equipment recognizes that much of today's construction equipment market is driven by rentals and it plans on being a significant player in the rental market. The facility at 2160 Hotel Road in Auburn contains a significant fleet of equipment ready to go to work, and the investment has been made in the right assortment of attachments to tackle any job, the company said.

Terry Klemanski, who is handling inside sales at the Auburn facility has been with the Whited family for many years.

"Terry, in fact, retired not long ago and quickly found out that retirement was not for him. So he returned to where he is now, developing a customer base for Hyundai construction equipment," the company said.

Klemanski is not new to Hyundai or construction equipment — years ago, he was the fleet manager of the city of Auburn, which had Hyundai machines as a part of its equipment lineup.

"We were very happy with the Hyundai product when I was with the city of Auburn," Klemanski said.

In addition to handling inside sales, Klemanski also is coordinating rentals.

Ryan Kennard, who is handling outside sales for the Hyundai product at Whited Equipment, has previous experience working as branch manager for an equipment distributor and working in sales for a large equipment rental house.

"I'm very impressed with Whited Equipment's philosophy of taking care of their customers and the inventory that they are supporting my efforts with is impressive," Kennard said. "A large variety of models that Hyundai has available is very impressive and certainly makes my job a lot easier. Right now, some dealers are having difficulty getting product, but we have made a very big investment in inventory."

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