Some people find themselves working in the construction equipment industry due to chance or family connections, while others are just made for the work. Mike Crimaldi, founder and CEO of crawler carrier manufacturer Terramac, is a perfect example of someone for whom the heavy equipment industry was an ideal fit.
“Working in the heavy equipment industry is a natural fit for me,” he said. “I have always enjoyed and continue to enjoy learning about new equipment features and how equipment helps us in our daily lives.”
Crimaldi’s passion for construction equipment and working with his hands began at an early age: “As a very young boy, I worked during the summer with my grandpa and dad who owned a small concrete construction company,” he said. “I was always fascinated with anything that had an engine, so they taught me how to ride and fix all types of construction equipment early on. And then, as a young teenager, I enjoyed learning how to paint and restore old cars with my uncle.”
When Crimaldi was old enough to branch out beyond the family business, he found work doing odd jobs at a drilling company. The company’s owner taught him the skills he needed to thrive in the heavy equipment and drilling industries – and that wasn’t the only impact this mentor had on Crimaldi’s life.
“One of my earliest ‘real’ jobs was working at a drilling company,” Crimaldi said. “The owner, a very hard-working Italian immigrant, took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew. I started out sweeping floors, organizing bolts and doing other odd jobs. As I gained more responsibility, I learned to weld, worked on heavy equipment, helped on drilling rigs, and eventually I became an operator. This man, my mentor, became my father-in-law 35 years ago.”
In just a few short years, Crimaldi went from organizing bolts and sweeping floors to starting Rig Source Inc., a drill rig sales and service company that serves the pipeline, oil and gas, geothermal, geotechnical, environmental and core drilling industries.
“After several years in the drilling service industry, I began Rig Source,” Crimaldi said. “I have always enjoyed transforming used equipment to like-new status, both aesthetically and mechanically. After mounting several drill rigs to crawler carriers to meet the needs of our customers, we realized that there was a market for crawler carriers, especially in the pipeline industry. We began selling and renting crawler carriers, and after several years of repairing the used ones, we had trouble finding an adequate supply of repair parts, which became frustrating. This was the catalyst that triggered the idea of designing a carrier line of our own and adding features we felt were important.”
Terramac’s first crawler carrier – the mid-sized RT9 – debuted in 2011 and quickly took the industry by storm. But an innovative product line isn’t Terramac’s only secret to success. The company has a skilled workforce; a responsive dealer network that offers localized sales, rentals, aftermarket parts and service; and a strong commitment to providing excellent customer service. But perhaps its greatest asset is Crimaldi’s ability to see things from the perspectives of both a heavy equipment operator and a business owner.
“From my previous experience as a heavy equipment operator, I quickly learned that when a machine broke down it meant more time in the shop and less time with my family,” he said. “Now as a business owner, it means lower profits and high frustration. Our goal at Terramac is to be responsive to our customers and provide as little downtime as possible. Our responsive dealer network has this same philosophy. Locally stocked parts and highly skilled service teams are a must.”
Running a heavy equipment manufacturing company like Terramac is hard work, but for Crimaldi, it’s also been enjoyable and rewarding to see what started as a simple idea grow into a successful business. And Crimaldi is quick to express gratitude for the individuals that help make Terramac’s success possible.
“Terramac is a creative outlet for me,” he said. “It is exciting to take an idea, have it come to fruition and watch it grow. Adding new employees, dealers, customers and machines to the Terramac family is the most rewarding part of being the founder and CEO of Terramac. I am so grateful to be able to work with energetic, brilliant individuals that have the same passion as I do for achieving the goal of producing a superior carrier and providing excellent customer service. My key role is working with others in the Terramac organization to ensure our success as a group. And I am appreciative to everyone who has inspired and taught me over the years.”
Simultaneously grappling with a serious technician shortage and a workforce that gets closer and closer to retirement, the heavy equipment industry offers people who enjoy working with their hands career opportunities that aren’t as readily available in other industries. For people who are considering a career in the industry, Crimaldi says that gratitude, hard work and a willingness to learn are essential.
“Starting at the bottom is the best way to become successful,” he said. “I definitely started out at the bottom! Gratitude is key and I believe that anyone who is willing to learn and willing to put in the time will realize his or her dreams. Never give up!”
For more information on Terramac’s extensive line of crawler carriers, call 630-365-4800, email info@terramac or visit www.terramac.com. Terramac is also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
To learn more about Rig Source Inc., visit www.rigsourceinc.com. Rig Source is also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.