Earlier this year, Hard Hat News had the opportunity to tour Smith’s Heavy Equipment, Inc. in Geneva, NY. It didn’t take long to realize that there was a lot going on with a variety of heavy equipment pieces in the shop for repair and maintenance. Owner Rachel Smith and her husband David welcomed us for our visit with the kind of friendly hospitality you come to expect in a family-owned business in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York. The growth of their business over the last ten years has been exciting.
While we waited for Dave to return from a recycling project at a nearby quarry, Rachel filled us in on the growth of the company since it began in 2005. She told us that David had been crop farming while also working for Caterpillar at a plant in the area. When Dave’s first wife passed away, Dave stayed in full-time farming but also began to work on heavy equipment for him and for others. As time passed, he continued to gain new customers in the area and the repair business continued to grow. Meanwhile, having established a relationship while working together in the equipment repair business, Rachel and David decided to marry.
In the early days of the business, they worked from a 2-bay Morton building that was located on the farm. Within a couple of years, in 2007, they moved to their current location, 40,000 square foot shop on a 78-acre site at the eastern edge of Geneva, NY. This facility is equipped with a 20-ton overhead crane, which is a helpful tool when it comes to engine repair on the likes of large farm tractors, off-road equipment for the quarry and recycling industry and for trucks of various kinds. Smith’s is a certified repair facility for off-road Cummins engines as well as Deutz and Scania engine repair.
“Ninety percent of our work is engine work,” said David as we walked through the shop meeting a few of the 15 employees that make up Smith’s operation. “We specialize in engine work. That is why we offer a two-year after market warranty to our customers. That includes engines, drives, transmissions and gearboxes. We pretty much do it all.”
In addition to the staff that works in the shop and in the parts department, Smith’s daughter Victoria is involved with sales and customer contact work. With Rachel taking care of the business admin and personnel responsibilities, Dave focuses on sales, new equipment sales training and set up, the various aspects of the repair business, and with on-call responsibilities. Rachel said that she is currently in the process of becoming a Certified Woman Owned Business in New York.
“When we set this business up, I made it clear that I was going to be an employee and Rachel would run the business,” David emphasized. “This is a 100 percent Woman-Owned Business. We both agree that is what has helped us to be successful.”
Recently, in 2013, Rachel said they took on the TEREX® Finlay line of portable crushing and screening equipment as a way to expand their business. With David overseeing the repair and maintenance portion of the business, his expertise with the Scania engines along with his skills operating equipment of this kind, makes him the ideal sales representative for this product.
David said that since acquiring the TEREX Finlay line, not only has he sold the equipment to customers in the area, but he has also found uses for it in the custom crushing and screening of recyclable concrete and asphalt at quarries and recycling centers in the Upstate. He said he sees the day when Smith’s Heavy Equipment could possibly have their own custom crushing and screening division serving the local area, as long as it doesn’t interfere with others in the area who rely on Smith’s for their TEREX Finlay equipment maintenance and repair. For the foreseeable future, Dave said the region is still in the growing stages of this kind of recycling and he feels that both services can grow together in the coming years. Additionally, the custom crushing and screening division will also be a reliable resource for quality equipment with some hours on them to sell to customers who are not looking for new equipment. For more information on Smith’s Heavy Equipment, visit their website at www.smithsheavyequip.com or give them a call at 315-789-2555.