Steve Hoeger isn’t one who had to be coaxed into a career in the heavy equipment manufacturing industry. Having grown up in an area in Iowa where several equipment manufacturers are based, Hoeger was familiar with the industry – and ready when an opportunity presented itself.
After working in public accounting and marketing for the HON Company, an office furniture designer and manufacturer, Hoeger moved on to work in mergers and acquisitions for Raytheon. Then, in 1999, he was offered an executive-level position with attachment tools manufacturer Attachment Technologies.
“I had a unique opportunity to move back home to Iowa and join Attachment Technologies (now Paladin), where I accepted the position of CFO,” Hoeger said. “Back in 1999, the attachment industry was very fragmented. Attachment Technologies began consolidating attachment companies so as to provide the dealers and OEMs with a high quality offering with consistent quality.”
The company grew, and when it was sold to Norwest Equity Partners, Hoeger accepted a CFO position with Henderson Manufacturing, a heavy duty snow and ice equipment maker. It was a good fit for him. He spent 12 years with the company, eventually ascending to the position of senior vice president.
“We grew the company organically by developing a complete truck package that included dump bodies, snow plows, underbody scrapers, sand/salt spreaders and more,” Hoeger said. “The primary customers were municipal agencies such as DOTs, tollway authorities, cities, counties, townships. We could provide our customers with a complete package at a competitive bid price, and the quality of the end product was consistent and designed to work together.”
Two years ago, Hoeger accepted the position of president of Digga North America, an international manufacturing company that launched its North American operations in 2018. Some of Hoeger’s duties as president of Digga include working to develop a distribution channel with dealers, rental companies and OEMs, and keeping the company’s production capacity ahead of its growth.
“Digga is highly specialized in the auger drive market; we offer 96 models to fit any job requirement,” Hoeger said. “We are not trying to be a one-stop shop, but rather we want to be experts at the products we do offer. By staying focused on a smaller product offering we can work with the customers to quickly respond to customizations. We have several attachment products that are designed and manufactured for Australia and Europe, and we are in the process of modifying the products to fit the North American market.”
Though he may not have set out to become the president of an equipment manufacturing company, Hoeger loves working in the heavy equipment industry and, specifically, at Digga North America.
“The customer base in the heavy equipment industry is fantastic, and working with our dealers and OEMs is one of my favorite things about the industry,” he said. “I also appreciate working with a company that’s new to the North American market, as it provides an opportunity to grow from scratch, thus avoiding the pitfalls and bureaucracy of established larger companies.”
Facing a dire workforce shortage, the heavy equipment industry offers plentiful opportunities for those interested in working their way to the top. Hoeger had this advice for those who may be considering pursuing a career in the industry: “Stay focused on the end users of the product. They are continually running into difficulties in how to get the job done. By listening to them, new ideas and production can be developed.”
When he’s not busy working, Hoeger likes to spend his free time outdoors.
“I love to do anything outside – especially if it’s related to building things,” he said. “I enjoy golf, fishing, boating and gardening.”
For more information on Digga North America, visit www.diggausa.com. Digga North America is also on Facebook, YouTube and Google+.