This year has marked 70 years in business for Highway Equipment & Supply Co. Seventy years of change, challenges, learning, growth, and service within the equipment industry in Pennsylvania. I sat down with our VP's, Ryan Flood and Vince Pagano, to find out a little more about how business has evolved and how they see the future.
An obvious change over time has been the addition of the world wide web. I was curious to find out how that changed things over the years.
M: How has the internet changed the way business is conducted?
R: The customer is well educated about their equipment options and know exactly what they want to buy when the need arises. The internet has allowed people to do their research.
V: It's had a huge impact, primarily from a business to business standpoint. Our interaction with our manufacturers is via a dealer portal. Our interaction with customers is usually via email. Customers are able to view service and parts histories, make payments, as well as a variety of other business transactions with us.
70 years is a LONG time! It certainly speaks volumes about a company's core values to be able to conduct business and continue to grow.
M: What do you think being in business for 70 years says about the company?
R: Longevity is born out of offering quality products and having a top notch support staff. We've created long lasting relationships that are built on trust.
V: Clearly, it exemplifies our ability to navigate the occasional turbulent waters of being in business. We have managed the ebbs and flows of general business activity, severe economic factors that may have affected us and most recently, a worldwide health pandemic that greatly impacted our national economy. I believe we are built to withstand difficulties through sound leadership, committed and knowledgeable staff, and customer relationships that have stood for decades. We also have employees that know what it takes to serve customers.
Behind every business stands a team ready for action. Highway maintains a team of certified technicians and knowledgeable staff that's will to go #theextramile.
How would you describe the team that makes up Highway Equipment?
R: We're fortunate to have a highly skilled and dedicated family of employees.
V: Our team is a loyal, knowledgeable and customer-focused team that drives the engine of success for our organization. Our business can be a difficult business,, but it's what we do. We might as well be the best at it...and we are!
Repeat customers are the backbone of a business. In 70 years of operation it's undeniable that Highway has made lasting relationships with customers.
M: How many businesses do you think you have served over the course of the last 70 years?
R: Our system has thousands of names. Some do business with us daily, others every couple of years.
V: We've had interactions over the years with hundreds of companies. Businesses come and go, are bought and consolidated, but for the most part, we have maintained the relationships that have existed over our 70 years, in some cases, for multiple generations.
Obviously, business has changed with the times, people have come and gone, and equipment offerings have grown.
M: What would you say some of the highlights are from years gone by?
R: Expanding and opening branches in Brownstown and in Lock Haven.
The rush of the natural gas boom while it lasted.
Having Volvo CE relocate their HQ in our territory.
V: Although our general structure has been consistent since our inception, expanding to Lock Haven and to Brownstown have definitely been highlights as it pertains to growth.
It's been exciting to observe the evolution of our main line, Volvo Construction Equipment. It started out decades ago as part of the Michigan/Clark loaders.
Most recently, the highlight that I am most impressed with is the recognition by VCE of Highway as being #1 in Uptime. In the past, it was expected that Highway would not be recognized for such performances. With our growth, business plans and our commitment to customer service, we've been routinely nominated, and in some cases awarded, with various dealer performance awards. While the awards are nice, the recognition is what is most important as it is indicative of what we need to do and what we actually do to take care of our customers.
With such a landmark anniversary, it's natural to reflect on the past, but what about what lies ahead? I asked Ryan and Vince what the vision of the next 70 years might look like.
R: Technology will drive our business and industry like we've never seen before. From 3D to automation to EV/batter power, there are going to be big changes coming our way. We'll have to support the past, but grow with the future simultaneously.
V: You never know what's down the road, but in general terms, I see continued general expansion and growth, perhaps at a greater rate than what we've experienced recently, for the future Highway Equipment & Supply Co.