Pink IronBy Mary Sedor
Article Date: 10-01-2008
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Mid Country Machinery is taking breast cancer awareness to new heights.
Every three minutes in the U.S., a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2008, an estimated 40,480 women and 450 men will die from breast cancer. With the staggering number of people who have been diagnosed with, survived or died from cancer, chances are that at some time everyone will be affected by this disease – whether it’s your mother, wife, sister, aunt – or customer’s wife. When Bud PeCoy, president and owner of Mid Country Machinery in Fort Dodge, Iowa, learned that the wife of one of his customers and good friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, he knew he wanted to help. PeCoy, along with his partners Mark Swedlund, Lucas Peed and Bob Conaway decided it was time to take action early this year. “We always donate to different causes, and this issue touched home,” said PeCoy. “We came up with the idea to paint two of our JLG booms pink after thinking about our customer’s wife and how they’ve struggled with it. This idea came up and we felt it was something that would benefit her and bring awareness to the cause at the same time.” What Color is that Boom?
Mid Country Machinery’s origins aren’t like the typical AED dealer. The company wasn’t passed down from generation to generation. It hasn’t been around for 100 years, but just over 10. And still, the company has learned to thrive. PeCoy worked in the construction industry before deciding to open his own dealership in 1997. He and Peed formed Mid Country Machinery together, and later brought on the other partners a few years later. The company has grown steadily since then. “It’s been a straight uphill climb since Day 1,” said PeCoy. “We’ve never seen any downturn in business. We went from a very small company to about 40 employees with two locations and a growing rental side of the business.” Mid Country also started a crane rental company this year, renting and selling Tadano cranes.
For the past four years the company has shown its appreciation to customers by annually raffling off a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Last year, during the company’s 10-year anniversary celebration, Mid Country gave away a new Lincoln pick-up truck to say thanks to customers for supporting them. This year, the company decided to do something bigger. PeCoy decided to order two 80-foot Model 800S JLG telescoping boom lifts to add into his fleet and had them painted pink – the color that signifies breast cancer awareness. While the unusual paint order created quite a stir at JLG’s factory, when PeCoy explained the color change, JLG graciously donated the upcharge for having them specially painted. “We had to tell our employees when we put the pink booms on order that if they saw two pink booms arrive not to panic,” said PeCoy.While the booms were in production, PeCoy contacted the Des Moines chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists.
“I told them what I wanted to do, and Diane Farris, the president of the Des Moines chapter, welcomed it with open arms,” said PeCoy. Soon the slogan for the campaign, “Reach High for the Cure” was created. Back in the JLG factory, the manufacturer made sure to have the two pink booms labeled with the slogan and the Susan G. Komen logo before shipment. “We had to make sure the booms were labeled properly before they ended up on a job site. I don’t know if that would have been a good thing or not if they wound up on a jobsite without the labels,” PeCoy joked. Stopping Traffic
During the first part of July, the new pink booms arrived and were placed on display in front of the dealership for several weeks before heading out as rentals. “The pink booms definitely attracted attention,” said PeCoy. “Customers have been calling us and asking what’s up with the pink booms. We’ve received a ton of calls from people and everyone loves them.” The huge 80-foot booms attract attention, not only to the cause but to the dealership as well. “We’ve gotten some very positive feedback about our dealership but that’s not the reason for the campaign,” said PeCoy. “We’re just trying to raise awareness. We’ve all been touched by this, whether you know someone or have a family member with it, breast cancer is something that everyone can relate to and that’s why we chose this campaign.” In addition to painting and decaling the booms to promote breast cancer awareness, Mid Country Machinery also signed an agreement with the Des Moines chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to donate 10 percent of all income derived from the rental of the machines for the next 54 months, an amount that is expected to total between $25,000 and $30,000 during the life of the agreement. “We’re a typical AED-type dealership. We’re more into the sales of equipment and now with these pink booms we’re in it for the long haul. We’re not going to rent them out for six months and sell them, we’re going to rent them for at least five years,” said PeCoy. PeCoy says that so far the campaign has been fun and that they’re just getting started. “Hopefully we’ll have a big fleet of these machines before it’s all over,” he said. “I anticipate this taking off and adding more booms and other support equipment in this pink color. It’s a campaign we want to stay with.” Because of the current volume of construction activity to build and enlarge existing hospital facilities throughout Iowa, PeCoy plans to send the 80-foot tall pink JLG boom lifts to those sites as often as possible. “It’s not so much about the donation, but it’s about the awareness,” he said. “The awareness level is instantaneous with the pink booms. When everyone sees them it doesn’t take them long to figure out the cause.” A Challenge to Dealers
This campaign has raised awareness not only with the community but with Mid Country’s own employees. “My employees have rallied around this campaign,” said PeCoy. “They can all relate to it. I think it’s helped morale. One thing I can say is that everyone is particular about these machines – they don’t want them scratched. The employees went out and got touch-up paint. When the machines come back from rent they want to make sure they are always looking new.” PeCoy says it’s important for dealers to give back, especially to the local community.
“Whether it’s breast cancer or donating for the local high school football field, if we have the means to do it, we as dealers should contribute back to the communities that we serve,” he said. “I think everyone feels good about it and we feel good as a company.” PeCoy says his hopes for this campaign are to not only raise awareness, but to get other dealers involved. “Personally, I’d like to see other dealerships – even our competitors – get on board with this idea to help the cause,” he said. “It’s all about creating awareness.” If you would like to donate to breast cancer research, visit www.komen.org for more information.
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