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Woods CRW, Classen Crane Reach for the Sky Together

Wed December 19, 2012 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The Classen Link-Belt HTC86100 crane places steel at the site of a new bank construction in Manchester, N.H.
The Classen Link-Belt HTC86100 crane places steel at the site of a new bank construction in Manchester, N.H.
The Classen Link-Belt HTC86100 crane places steel at the site of a new bank construction in Manchester, N.H. Dan Gonyaw, a seven-year operator with Classen Crane Service, is thrilled with the re-engineered cab and operator computer systems in the Link-Belt HTC86100 crane. Mark Varricchione (L), sales representative of Woods CRW and Mike Classen of Classen Crane Service.

Classen Crane Service has a very long and strong relationship with Woods CRW and Chris Palmer, president.

Classen’s purchased its very first crane from Palmer in 1993, and every crane since. The newest — a Link-Belt HTC86100 100-ton (90.7 t) telescopic boom truck crane — is the fifteenth crane that Classen’s has purchased from Woods CRW. The new crane is replacing a Link-Belt HTC8690, which Classen’s had purchased in 2005.

“One of the things that we have really noticed is how the crane operates driving down the open highway,” said Mike Classen, founder of Classen Crane Service. “It handles better, the acceleration is better; my operators are particularly pleased. Link-Belt has gone with Cummins engines with this new series of cranes and overall we are much happier with that engine performance. The new operator computer systems in our new crane are a tremendous improvement over the previous ones. Our operators report that they are easier to use and easier to view. Don’t get me wrong, we were very satisfied with the HTC8690, but it had 9,000 hours on it and for our operation that’s a good time to update.”

Classen said that his company’s workload has been heavy and growth of the company has been tremendous.

“When most other businesses started to contract in 2008 and 2009 our business exploded, so much so that it’s definitely to our advantage to have our fleet as up to date as it possibly can be,” he said. “We are not exactly sure why our business has accelerated at such a rate, but there are some things that we have focused on that we know have paid a return.”

Classen pays special attention to the operators he hires.

“They must be professional, skilled, and have good people skills in working with the customer,” he said. “One of my roles in the company is personally training each operator. We also understand that if we are going to hire the best employees out there that we have to take good care of them. I have always said that people who pay peanuts get monkeys in return.”

A Partnership

Classen said that in some ways, he feels as if his company is partners with Woods CRW.

“I was just getting started when Chris Palmer was just getting started and we have watched each other grow and succeed,” he said. “Much like my company, Woods CRW has put the right people in place within their organization. For instance, Steve Smith, one of their technicians has been with them for 25 years. He knows the Link-Belt cranes inside and out and he’s a real straight shooter. There have been times when Steve has worked with us even on a Sunday when necessary. We have had great luck with the Link-Belt machines and we have looked at and used other cranes, but the Link-Belt cranes just shine,” said Classen.

About Classen Crane

Mike Classen bought his first crane in 1981 at the age of 21. Ben Classen, Mike’s son, is now vice-president of the company.

Classen’s now has between 12 and 60 employees during the season and has completed projects from Augusta, Ga., to Augusta, Maine. Recently completed jobs include crane work at a new wind farm in Lowell, Vt., consisting of 21 windmills. For this project Classen operated a 400-ton (362.8 t) crawler crane. The company also recently placed 21 modular homes on Block Island and has been doing extensive erection projects at a paper plant in Sheldon Springs, Vt.

Classen Cranes rents its fleet of cranes with operators throughout New England and New York State.

For more information, visit

About Woods CRW

Founded in 1961 in South Burlington, Vt., Woods CRW focuses on equipment sales and product support. It has locations in Williston, Vt., North Oxford, Mass., and Central Square, N.Y.

For more information, visit

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