Rasmussen Equipment Co.’s origin begins like any great American start-up story. In 1947 Frank Rasmussen founded the business from his garage. More than 70 years later, the West Valley City, Utah-based company specializes in custom rigging and wire rope in addition to renting, selling and servicing heavy equipment needs throughout the state of Utah and parts of southwest Wyoming and southeast Idaho. The company also employs about 50 employees and like just about any other heavy equipment business they’re also looking to hire.
Rasmussen Equipment Company has always found value in being a part of AED and The AED Foundation.
In addition to being AED members, Rasmussen Equipment Company has supported The AED Foundation through its Annual Campaign and even takes part in recruitment events designed to highlight the opportunities within our industry and to draw new employees.
“Fortunately, Rasmussen Equipment Company does not have a lot of employee turnover,” says Steve Rasmussen, of Rasmussen Equipment Company. Some of their technicians have been with the company for 30 years, but they continue to hire and recruit. Despite the low turnover service technicians are difficult to find.
One of the biggest benefits The AED Foundation provides is getting the word out about opportunities available in the construction equipment industry. “So many people think they can go to college and get a job, not understanding the link between a degree and job opportunities. A vocational degree (in contrast) is immediately hire-able. I think it’s great what The AED Foundation is doing, to bring awareness to the industry and the community,” Rasmussen says.
Rasmussen Equipment Company has taken part in recruitment events, including an annual Career Day and Barbecue organized by The AED Foundation and hosted by Salt Lake Community College.
The recent career day cookout included about 10 AED-affiliated dealerships and about 300 high school, community college, and charter school students, according to Randy Gallegos, VP at Rasmussen Equipment Company.
“We bring machinery out and talk about the work,” Rasmussen says. “We like to help, to make it a win-win for the industry and for the high school students to know there are great opportunities in this field. The key is (for students) to know that the jobs are not low-paying.”
Gallegos seconds that. By sponsoring and/or participating in these events, “we’re showing this is a good industry and a good way to make a living.” It’s crucial to get students – sometimes as young as junior high level – and schools to look at careers in our industry.
Besides having good-paying jobs readily available, program graduates come out trained and ready for the workforce. One recent high school graduate is currently in an apprentice program with Rasmussen Equipment Company and is thriving. “He’s doing very well, we’re very impressed,” says Gallegos.
Getting past some stigmas of working on heavy equipment is a problem, too. “Just talking to students and explaining what’s out there,” is important, Rasmussen explains. “So many people have a misconception that it’s just getting greasy. It’s actually a very skilled job, and very technical, and can be used in numerous fields – high-tech manufacturing, repairing tractors, HVAC, compressors … (a person can) work all over.”
Gallegos agrees: “It’s not just turning wrenches.” Computers, technical work, diagnostics are all involved. “It’s an ongoing challenge to find technicians and train them.”
In terms of training, that’s another of the many benefits that The AED Foundation offers that Rasmussen Equipment Company finds helpful. In addition to recruiting and schooling the next generation of heavy equipment worker, Gallegos says The AED Foundation provides excellent educational opportunities for rental, sales, and service managers, as well as offering informative seminars.
“The big point there (in supporting The AED Foundation) is that it’s working for dealers on finding solutions to find technicians and offer better training for parts and service managers,” says Gallegos. “The Foundation puts the time and resources in for education.” And Rasmussen Equipment Company in turn shows its support by attending those seminars and taking part in those workshops.