Ross Kinman

Feb 24th, 2012 | By | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog

To the best of my knowledge, Ross was the first trainer to enter the market and did so in the early 70s. As an experienced T & R owner and operator from Indianapolis, Ross had considerable knowledge, which he organized and presented over several days in a classroom setting. Some distributors even sponsored these training sessions as a contribution to their customers, and I once attended a session at Welch Equipment in Lampasas, Texas.

Ross was certainly not a buffoon, but he inserted a lot of humor — both spoken and through body actions — in his presentations. I liked the one about “swinging meat” as he would swing his body back and forth as if attached at the head. The instruction was practical and of value, especially to the emerging tower as our industry was entirely self-taught trial and error until Ross came along.

On the last day, usually a Saturday, Ross would work his magic by uprighting a derelict mixer with a small wrecker, often a single-line Holmes 440. To do that he needed many, many, snatch blocks which delayed the process and heightened the excitement. Finally, at the precise moment when the load was raised to the tipping point, Ross would personally step in too close to the mixer and give a slight tug on a line, bringing the mixer over and back on its feet with a loud crash.

Expanding his footprint and pressing forward with new technology, Ross went on to develop and market an electric-over-hydraulic tool similar to the Jaws of Life. This all occurred at a time when we in T & R thought we would be enlisted in an expanded role at the accident scene as a first responder. For insurance and other reasons, that status never materialized, at least not 40 years ago, but that trend may be revisited today.

In closing, let me add that Ross Kinman was also one of the seven founders of Friends of Towing as confirmed by a picture of them hanging on the wall behind John Hawkins’ desk at the museum. Ross was forward-thinking, and made many substantial and worthwhile contributions to our industry.