Industry BeatCED, December 2007
Article Date: 12-03-2007
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Industry Publisher: ‘It Worked!'
And 50 years later, Construction Equipment Guide's founder Ed McKeon realizes that running a newspaper for contractors still does.
Making a living as a contractor in the mid-1950s was tough, and while there was plenty of work, finding enough affordable equipment was a struggle. A young man just discharged from the Marines and working for his father-in-law in the East had the often-fruitless responsibility to locate used dozers and loaders for the business. The only advertisements for equipment in those days were in the Sunday editions of the big city newspapers.
That's when it dawned on the young Ed McKeon that there ought to be a newspaper just for contractors. McKeon is the founder of Construction Equipment Guide, which celebrates it 50th anniversary in 2008, and today features used equipment listings, dealer and industry news and events, market information and nationally syndicated columnists.
"We tried to start it in 1957 but couldn't get it off the ground - I knew nothing about printing or publishing," McKeon said, laughing. "The following year was a very bad winter for contractors, and I decided I couldn't live like this. I was going to do something different. We got a lot of equipment dealers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to advertise - they got a lot of calls and sold a lot of equipment, and it worked!"
It worked so well, in fact, says McKeon, that his novel, used-equipment newspaper that initially mailed to 10,000 Northeastern contractors quickly grew over to the Mid-Atlantic, from Connecticut to Virginia. Today, McKeon, together with sons Ted, Joseph and Richard, has since grown CE Guide to four regional newspapers - the West Coast edition most recently added - with a total, national circulation approaching 120,000.
"We had great customers, and I became very good friends with all of them," said McKeon. "They persevered with me. Even when the industry would go into a slump, they continued to advertise and that's what kept us going."
McKeon also credits his company's long years of success to his team of hard-working staff.
"It was always a pleasure to go to work," he said. "I had some people who were really talented and loved doing what they were doing."
Continually seeking to meet needs for the contractor population, the company launched CEG Productions in 1997, a trade show business that creates opportunities for equipment dealers to exhibit interactively with demo areas in a unique show called PhilCONX. The first show was held in Philadelphia Park in 1998, but today it's hosted in Pittsburgh and Chicago, as well - the next show is scheduled in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg Jan. 7-9, immediately preceding AED's Annual Meeting and CONDEX in downtown Chicago Jan. 10-12.
Construction Equipment Guide is honoring dealers and AED by sponsoring the wine served during the Chairman's Inaugural Dinner Friday night, Jan. 11. The company is also sponsoring late-night entertainment following all the events of the Friday evening Inaugural Dinner - dealers are invited down to the Hyatt's main lounge for live music with performers from Chicago's renowned Red Head Piano Bar.
A Philosophy that Works
Did McKeon just get lucky, or does remaining profitable for 50 years with a niche publication have a special secret?
"That's easy," he exclaimed. "We never lie. We always answer all the questions honestly, no matter what, even if it costs us in business. And we always give the customer (aka dealer advertisers) far more than he bargained for."
Kudos to EPG Insurance
The Memphis Business Journal has named EPG Insurance one of the "Best Places to Work" in its annual contest in Memphis, Tenn.
More than 100 companies competed in the Memphis area for this contest, which serves to recognize businesses for cultivating good work environments. Companies were broken down into three categories based on number of employees. EPG won the competition for the 1-50 employee range - the company employs 49 today.
Each company's employees had to complete an anonymous online survey, ranking factors such as company loyalty, trust in company leadership and faith in the company's continued success.
"We were shocked," said Barbara Harris, underwriter, when they heard the news. "This was our first year to enter and won. It was so exciting. We really do believe we have the best place to work in Memphis. "
The company provides point-of-sale physical damage insurance and extended service contracts to construction equipment dealers in every state.
EPG was honored during an awards luncheon Oct. 19 at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn. EPG insurance was formed in 1987 and serves the insurance needs of heavy equipment dealers.
For more information about EPG Insurance, visit www.epgins.com.
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