Holmes ExportMar 30th, 2012 | By Editorial Staff | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog
Don Baldwin ran the export office out of the New Jersey suburbs, and he did an excellent job promoting the Holmes equipment despite different languages, applications and requirements. Interestingly enough, I learned a lot about Holmes wreckers by reading through various sales presentations made by Don as he had the technical ability to explain design features and performance characteristics to non-technical people who even spoke another language.
I was fascinated by a group from Nigeria who came to the Holmes plant to learn how to operate the wreckers their country was buying. These guys were on the wrecker, under the wrecker and in the wrecker. I had never seen such interest and dedication but was told later that they had to become “experts” or would be harshly treated back home. I didn’t ask what “harshly” meant.
Others who I bumped into at the Chattanooga plant told of how different the industry was in their country. For example, in both South Africa and Australia, towers were often called to respond to recoveries a thousand miles away. Not only did they have to carry their own fuel for the entire trip, they had to bring along food and water for the workers as well for these recoveries could be in the wilderness many miles from civilization.
The Japanese still used truck cranes for heavy-duty recoveries. And, I understand that practice continues to this day. The Europeans seemed to be on the cutting edge of technology. We got the floating modular bodies and underlifts from the Swedes and many innovations in products and features from the English. Our early hydraulic wreckers were probably somewhat plagiarized from UK designs.
But, despite all these variances, Holmes still enjoyed an 82 percent market share thanks to guys like Don Baldwin, a few wrecker peddlers here in the states, an excellent product line and a rock solid company.