Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/255289
2014 AED Chairman 36 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | February 2014 Chairman says. Strong workforce development and continuing education programs are benefitting members, "and again," said Watters, "if it ain't broke, let's not fix it. "But with regard to membership and engagement of our members, we are working in a changing environment and we need to adapt – quickly." Chameleon Company Watters comes from a long line of adapters. Over the many decades since brothers Bill (Tim's grandfather) and Harry Hoffman started their trucking and delivery company in 1925, Hoffman Equipment has rolled and jumped through lots of market changes in the business landscape, altering its appearance swift as a chameleon and reinventing its business model to fit with the times and survive. During a time when most things were delivered by horse and wagon, the Hoffman brothers bought a truck and launched a local delivery business that grew to sizeable proportions, for its day. After serving as Seabees in World War II, the brothers came home and changed the focus of the company dramatically into a trucking and rigging firm. Throughout the '50s and '60s, Watters says, Hoff- man Equipment was involved in all the region's big rigging projects, including most of the nuclear power plants in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Watters tells the narrative as if it is family folklore he's heard his whole life. In 1962, when Tim was barely in Kindergarten, owner- ship was transferred to Harry Hoffman, Jr., and the company became deeply involved in container stevedoring at the region's ports, including Newark, New York and Baltimore. They owned the first 300-ton truck crane built by P&H, which they grew to a fleet of nine – during the adolescence of containerization, they were ideal machines for offloading 40-foot containers from ships to trucks. Then, without much warning, both of Hoffman's primary industries dried up almost overnight. Three Mile Island more or less killed the nuclear power plant business and the advent of permanent container cranes squeezed Harry's truck cranes out of the picture – both businesses were suddenly obsolete. What to do, what to do? Should he sell? Watters' Uncle Harry Hoffman was looking for a way out, but in the end, he found a way to adapt. Changing the company's color, figuratively speaking, he bought a small, Fiat-Allis equip- ment distributor in Piscataway, N.J. "Our company did a big pivot from a rigging and crane business into the distribution business. That was 1978. Harry made another change, as well, and added two partners: his brother-in-law and Tim's father, Joe Watters, and Harry's cousin, Bill Hoffman. Shortly afterward, Harry retired and owners Joe and Bill ran the company. Shifting Gears, Again And the amazing, morphing Hoffman Equipment became a new business once again. "Our experience in the ports had introduced us to a lot of foreign companies," said Watters, "and it was in the mid-'70s that we really got our feet wet in the exporting business." So the distribution business became a great conduit for Hoffman Equipment's export operation of U.S.-made ("This Guy is a Transformer" continued from page 35) 3900 Ben Hur Ave # 3 Willoughby, Ohio 44094 Office: 440-954-9923 Fax: 440-954-9929 Toll Free: 1-877-954-9923 Presents their new TNB series hydraulic breakers; Striker Hydraulic Breakers has a complete product offer- ing of 17 breakers ranging from 100 Ft./lb. class breaker to a 12,000 Ft./lb. class breaker. The TNB Series breakers are ideally suited for applications from primary/ secondary breaker, road and bridge construction, airport construc- tion, demolition, mining, quarry, rental, landscaping and recycling. Striker Hydraulic breakers (1) or (3)year warranty allows you, the customer more "up-time" and controls your cost of operation while maintaining maximum performance. STRIKERHYDRAULICBREAKERS Formoreinformation: ttt͘ƚŽŬƵ͘ĂŵĞƌŝĐĂ͘ĐŽŵ America, INC Watters' thriving export business has taken him to African customer sites where a security team accompanied him.