Volvo loading, hauling equipment debuts in Florida

By |  June 11, 2014

 

Volvo Construction Equipment debuted a wheel loader, an excavator and an articulated haul truck to the North American market June 10 during a press event at dealer Flagler Construction Equipment in Tampa, Fla.

The models on display were an L150H wheel loader, an EC380EL excavator and an A40G articulated hauler. Volvo also launched an L250H wheel loader in North America this week. The L250H is designed for quarry use.

“We call it our first two-pass machine,” says Stefan Solomonsson, a wheel loader product manager for Volvo.

According to Solomonsson, the L250H has a 9-cu.-yd. bucket for rehandling material. The increased bucket size allows the L250H to load a truck in just two passes. Previous models and their 7-cu.-yd. buckets required loaders to make three passes to complete a load.

“That is the big thing about the [L250H],” Solomonnson says.

The press also received a tour of Flagler’s Tampa facility as part of the event and had the opportunity to sit down with some of the dealer’s leaders. The facility, which was purchased from LB Smith, is one of seven Flagler facilities throughout Florida.

“Our goal is to touch every point of entry on the eastern seaboard,” says Tom Ball, Flagler’s senior vice president.

The Florida market has largely returned, Ball says, because of tremendous commercial growth. The Tampa and Orlando markets are Flagler’s fastest-growing markets within Florida, he says.

Even the residential market is picking up in Florida, Ball adds, citing one customer who, for a period between 2008 and about 2012, had four residential jobs the entire stretch. That same customer currently has 10 jobs, Ball says.

“The residential market is booming,” he says. “Fifteen thousand housing permits in 2006 was the record [for Florida’s Hillsborough County]. They’re calling for 11,000 permits this year.”

Three Flagler customers – Woodruff & Sons’ Don Woodruff, Dolime Minerals Co.’s Mike Jarrell and Ripa and Associates’ Rich Fuist – also spent some time at the event discussing their businesses, their relationships with Volvo and Flagler and other industry issues – including the challenge to find skilled laborers.

“We probably hire three people and we keep one,” Woodruff says. “We’re always worried. We have 40 people who are 20-plus-year [employees]. We do try to keep people by promoting them and moving them up.

Adds Fuist, who says he’s had some success recruiting skilled laborers through radio and print ads: “We’re probably more like one in six. I guess we grabbed everyone who’s worth it.”

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