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Lift Truck Basics – You CAN be a Forklift Expert!

Seven years ago when I first started at MH Equipment, I remember how confusing it was to learn all of the different lift truck types and options available. I had previously come from the insurance business and hadn’t as of yet had the privilege of working in the material handling industry. Since I was new to the industry and obviously had a lot to learn, I began seeking out resources that could help me to become the ‘forklift expert’ I was determined to be. I wanted to be able to answer questions such as:

  • “What is the difference between a pneumatic and a cushion tire truck and in what applications would you find each?”
  • “What exactly do the different mast types mean?”
  • “Why would someone choose an LP truck over an electric?”
  • “What the heck is a turret truck?”

For most of you that have been in the material handling industry for years, you know that these are some of the most basic things that you should know about forklifts. However, for those that are new to the industry, or like me are still learning, being able to find the right resources to help you expand your material handling knowledge is essential. That is why I wanted to pass along a couple of links that helped me to learn more about lift trucks and the material handling industry.

  • Lift Truck Basics by Dave Piasecki. This website does an excellent job of breaking down the basics of lift trucks and I still to this day refer to it for the occasional refresher.
  • A well written, simple article on lift truck basics was written in 2007 by Corinne Kator, Associate Editor for Modern Materials Handling. Some of the pricing mentioned may be outdated, but the content gives good insight into lift truck basics.
  • I also refer to Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) quite often as well. Primarily for dealers in the industry, this site as well as various print materials they send out, are a great resource to learn about material handling equipment and what is going on within the industry.

Although I am still not a ‘forklift expert’, finding and having these resources on hand have definitely helped me along the way. I am still confident that I will reach my goal of being a ‘forklift expert’ – someday.

What are some resources that have helped you learn more about lift trucks or kept you up to date on the material handling industry?

Quad Cities Hi-Lite

The Quad Cities branch is one of the three original locations of MH Equipment.  Now located in Davenport, Iowa, their beginnings started in downtown Moline, Illinois, however in 1976, a fire destroyed the Moline location and the branch relocated to East Moline where it remained until June of 2008 when they moved to their current location.

Nearly fifty employees make up the team at the Quad Cities branch including; Material Handling Specialist, Chuck Freeland, Aftermarket Representatives, Bill Baker and Mark Meyer, and Rental Manager, Jacob Greenwalt.  The Davenport branch includes a very large territory that spans over 320 miles from the southern most to northern most corners of the territory so these guys have a lot of land to cover when out on their daily sales calls.  To put it in perspective it would take six hours to drive from corner to corner of the territory!

Part of our mission at MH Equipment is to support the communities in which we live.  As part of that culture the Quad Cities branch are annual supporters of the Quad Cities Festival of Trees.  The Festival of Trees is the annual fundraiser for Quad City Arts, a local not-for-profit arts agency. It takes more than 3,500 volunteers,  over 650 designers, nearly 3,500 CenterStage entertainers, and over 150 Sponsors help to make Festival of  Trees possible. Festival has a $2.5 million dollar economic impact on the community and is recognized as one of the top events in North America, raising over $4 million dollars in support of local arts over a 20 year period. Over 100,000 people experience Festival annually, making it one of the largest attractions in the Quad Cities. This fundraiser makes it possible for Quad City Arts to provide quality arts programming year round for residents of six counties in Eastern Iowa and Western IL.

For the last seven years, Davenport has sponsored Upward Basketball for Underprivileged Kids. Upward Sports provides a fun kids sports experience based on healthy competition.  Upward Sports is one the world’s largest Christian sports league for children with leagues in nearly every major city.

The Quad Cities is home to John Deere Corporate Headquarters, the John Deere Classic at the TPC Deere Run, and the John Deere Commons which houses historical information on the company as well as a vintage 1900’s Deere dealership. Visitors to the Quad Cities also frequent the Rock Island Arsenal. During the civil war, the island was used as a prison camp, but today is utilized for production of military equipment such as the Howitzer & Abrams Tank.

Even though Davenport has a large group they are a very close-knit, supportive bunch!  Not only is the Quad Cities a great branch to work at but the area is full of fun and historic activities that can be enjoyed by the entire family!


IT Team Highlight – Meet Steve Dahlhauser!

We are proud to highlight Steve Dahlhauser who has been with our MH family for the past 14 years! Steve has had a long career with MH Equipment - in fact, this was his first job out of college! As an an important part of our IT team, Steve’s main responsibilities include managing the network and network equipment as well as internet connections and firewalls. Steve also manages our Cisco phone system and works alongside management to conduct research & development to determine what technologies and products we could implement to benefit the company. This means that Steve will likely be the person to assist you should you need help or have issues with network and internet access or have problems with your phone.

As previously mentioned, working for MH was Steve’s first job out of college. He graduated from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa with a degree in Compter Science. Steve is married to his lovely wife Dannelle, who also works for MH Equipment as the General Marketing Manager. Together, Steve and Dannelle have three children: Chester (12), Meadow (5), and Macey (2). As a family, the Dahlhauser’s enjoy sports -particularly Iowa Hawkeye and Miami Dolphins football, going to the Des Moines Blank Park Zoo, and just hanging out with friends and extended family.

Steve, his three brothers, and his dad Gene on fantasy football draft day!

Steve says that the most rewarding aspect of his position, (other than meeting his awesome wife and asking her out on a date) is “when the IT team can implement new technologies that improve the work experience and efficiency of our employees.  I like to think that my most satisfying moment is always somewhere on the horizon as I constantly strive to look for ways to improve myself and the company through knowledge and understanding of technology and how it can be used to positively effect business operations.” Steve likes working for MH, because he enjoys that every day presents a different challenge and because most of the people the IT team works with are kind and friendly and appreciate the help the team provides. He also likes working for a company that is always looking for the next opportunity and not just resting on it’s laurels.

As for hobbies, Steve likes to consider himself a connoisseur of fine beers and has, in fact, tried over 400 different beers from at least 25 different countries! He also likes to golf, although he doesn’t get to play as much as he’d like, and is the commissioner of a fantasy football league that is going on it’s 9th year. Steve says that fantasy football draft day is one of his favorite days next to Christmas and the SuperBowl which his wife thinks is ridiculous!

Please join me in thanking Steve for all his hard work and dedication as a member of our IT team! Remember to enter an IT ticket for all your Internet, network connectivity and Cisco phone issues – and be expecting a phone call or email from Steve in response!

 Please “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or check out our
MH Equipment You Tube channel.

Why Rent from MH Equipment?

Despite the positive economic trend of 2011, most companies are still slow to invest in material handling equipment. This means that forklift dealers are seeing an increase in both parts and service as older equipment is being used longer AND an increase in rentals since capital purchases are still (for the most part) being avoided.

MH Equipment offers quality late model Hyster, Yale, and JCB (amongst other makes of) rental equipment as a solution to our customers that are facing these situations.  The object being, of course, to provide a temporary solution to our customers as well as introduce them to the level of quality seen in our rental units – that way when they are prepared to purchase a new unit, they know what to expect from both MH Equipment and our OEMs. Beyond that of course, our rental customers enjoy a lot of other benefits seen with rental units:

  • Short term rental is an economical way to meet fleet demand with late model equipment from MH Equipment during the busiest seasons and inventory time. This helps eliminate unnecessary overhead due to idle equipment during the balance of the year.
  • Short term rental lets customers effectively handle sudden increases in demand, such as unforeseen growth, added production shifts or avoiding demurrage charges on late arriving deliveries.
  • If our customers simply can’t afford any equipment downtime, a short-term MH Equipment rental is a great way to maintain productivity levels while a machine is being repaired or serviced.
  • Every now and then, a highly specialized piece of equipment is needed to get a job done. That’s a perfect time for short term MH Equipment rental.
  • A short term MH Equipment rental allows customers to thoroughly evaluate a given model under actual field conditions prior to purchase or a long-term rent/lease commitment.

If you think you could use some additional equipment but have questions, give our rental department a call at 888-564-2191. We’ll be happy to work with you.

 Please “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or check out our
MH Equipment You Tube channel.


Special thanks to Kyle Thill.

IT Team Highlight – Meet Brett Stevens!

A new series on our MH Equipment blog will be to highlight members of our IT team. This week we are highlighting Brett Stevens from our Chillicothe Corporate location.

We are proud to highlight Brett Stevens who has been with our MH family for the past three years. Brett is an important part of our IT team with his main responsibilities being maintenance of our company data center which includes the main file and mail servers, desktop support and asset management, and hardware ordering and research. This means that Brett will likely be the person to assist you should you need help or have issues with computer hardware, need to install additional software, have a new user to set up, or need access to specific files or folders.

Before coming to MH Equipment, Brett worked as a Network Administrator for Devonshire Realty located in Champaign, Illinois until they downsized and he found MH Equipment. (We’re lucky he did!)

Brett says that the most rewarding aspect of his position, is knowing that he is a key part of keeping all our employees up and running and working as efficiently as possible. In addition to the satisfaction he gets from helping others, Brett enjoys working for MH, because he likes working for a company that sincerely cares about their employees. Brett’s servant heart fits right in at MH Equipment!

When he’s not working, Brett likes to spend time with his wife of nine years, Brandy, and their three boys, Brendan (8), Austin (6), and Caleb (3).  Together they love to fish, play sports, and find new ice cream shacks to try. Brett also enjoys volunteering as a coach for the boys’ baseball teams and is the Cub Master for his son Brendan’s cub scout pack.

When asked what person in history he would like to have dinner with (it will most likely be anything Mexican or Italian because those are his favorite!), Brett responded “Bill Gates – So I could ask him why he had to release Windows ME!”

And finally – one unique thing that most people don’t know about Brett is that he is actually an officiator at Jr high, high school, and small college level football and basketball games. (Wow! He’s a busy guy!)

Please join me in thanking Brett for all his hard work and dedication as a member of our IT team! Remember to enter an IT ticket for all your hardware, software, and server needs – and be expecting a phone call or email from Brett in response!

 Please “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or check out our
MH Equipment You Tube channel.

IT Team Highlight – Meet Mark Miller

A new series on our MH Equipment blog will be to highlight members of our IT team. This week we are highlighting Mark Miller from our Louisville branch.

We are proud to highlight Mark Miller who has been with our MH family for the past fourteen years! Mark is an instrumental part of our IT team with his main responsibilities being for Microsoft and NACCO software. This means that Mark will likely be the person to assist you should you need help or have issues with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc), Mocha, or the NACCO dealer sites.   He is currently in the process of obtaining his Microsoft certification on Windows 7 in order to better serve his internal customers!

Before coming to MH Equipment, Mark spent some time in the IT department of a local furniture manufacturer. He says that he actually never even applied for the job here - he had a friend that worked for a staffing company who sent in his resume. The next thing he knew, he was being called in for an interview!

Mark says that the thing he likes most about working for MH is definitely the people! He has known several since his first day here and considers some to be almost family. When asked what his most rewarding and satisfying experience has been during his tenure at MH Equipment, Mark says that helping the former Shipping Utilities and Gammon employees join the MH family was very rewarding. A close second was then he won the closest to the hole competition at one of our company golf scrambles – on his very first game!  

Home improvement projects and farm land management are a couple of Mark’s many hobbies along with hiking and camping on his back forty. Mark also likes to spend time with his 20-year-old son who he has raised nearly single-handedly since he was 2 – “Since my son has been 16, we’ve spent a lot more time keeping his car running than anything.” Mark says.  

When asked what person in history he would like to have dinner with, Mark responded “Isaac Asimov – he’s probably the most prolific and diverse author of the 20th century.” (Did you know that Isaac Asimov has written or edited more than 500 science fiction and popular science books according to wikipedia?!)

And finally – one unique thing that most people would never guess about Mark is that he used to wear an earring and ride a motorcycle! … I think I might need to see a picture of that! 

Please join me in thanking Mark for all his hard work and dedication as a member of our IT team! Remember to enter an IT ticket for all your Microsoft and NACCO software issues – and be expecting a phone call or email from Mark in response!

Don’t Hurry, Be Happy!

“It’s better to arrive late in this world than early in the next.” 

Hurrying is a common cause of injuries and one of the main reasons we forget to be Safe in the Moment. Hurrying is the reason we:

  • Break the speed limit driving to the safety meeting.
  • Run to the safety meeting.
  • We walk past spills on the floor, “somebody should clean that up”.
  • Trip climbing the stairs because we have an armful of donuts for the safety meeting.

 Whether at work or at home, it is hard to stop and take the time to do an activity safely unless we consider the possible outcome.

 For example:

  • Breaking the speed limit can lead to a wreck.
  • Running can cause you to land in the hospital.
  • Leaving spills uncontrolled can cause a co-worker to slip and fall.
  • Tripping and falling down the stairs can put you in a wheel chair the rest of your life

 We hurry when we are trying to catch up. Feeling rushed takes up space in your brain and can lead to a mistake. The control for this easily-but-seldom-dealt-with hazard is to slow down, think about what you are doing, and do it safe in this moment.

 The reality of hurrying through any job is that it leads to mistakes. Mistakes lead to injuries and an inferior product. 

Remember to Be Safe in the Moment – Don’t Hurry, Be Happy!

ReSale Feature of the Week

The past two weeks, we have been featuring a piece of used equipment on our Facebook Fan Page. Here is today’s ReSale Feature of the Week:

2008 Hyster S40FTS

  • Type: IC Cushion
  • Power: Gas
  • Transmission: Lever
  • MH Location: Davenport, IA.

If interested or want more information, fill out a contact form or call our Davenport Branch at (563) 381-9989. For more ReSale options, visit our website. Please consider subscribing to our blog if you’re interested in learning more about our used equipment. [slideshow]

Waterloo Hi-Lite

The Waterloo branch was established as Iowa Machinery in 1970. In 1999 Iowa Machinery moved to its current location. (Pictured) In 2000 Iowa Machinery was acquired by MH Equipment.

The Waterloo branch currently has 22 employees, covering 27 counties in Iowa. We have 12 technicians, 3 shop, 7 road and 2 resident technicians which cover our Fort Dodge territory.

Our largest customer in Waterloo would be John Deere, which has 5 locations in Waterloo. About 35% to 40% of our business comes from John Deere. We continue to grow new opportunities within the plants with their other allied equipment which includes, personnel carriers, semi tractors, trailers, Ag tractors, tuggers and automated guided vehicles as well as all of the equipment at the Engine plant who chose to stay with MH Equipment.

Areas of interest in Waterloo are the 5 Sullivan Brothers Museum, which was founded in honor of the five brothers that all enlisted in Navy during World War II and gave their lives during the war. We are host to the Waterloo Bucks baseball team, which is part of the Northwoods League, which is comprised of top college prospects in North America, and the Waterloo Black Hawks USHL hockey team. The University of Northern Iowa Panthers also find their home in nearby Cedar Falls.

Melissa Lennie (wife of Ben Lennie) provides the best treats. But we can not forget Cale Miller’s cream cheese pumpkin pie, it is awesome.

The funniest nickname goes to Brian Stroh his nickname is “Nozzle”. He is a volunteer fireman for the LaPorte City Fire Department and is also a clown, where he performs at birthday parties and parades.

John Lowe and his wife Angela have the most unique pet, which is a Pot Belly Pig.

Paul Quist is a numismatist, which is a person who collects coins.  When another employee at the branch needs change from one of the machines, Paul is sure to check every coin before giving change.

We have great team in Waterloo working together for a common goal of being successful in all that we do!!

 Published in the MH Insider Spring 2010

Ottumwa Hi-Lite

The Ottumwa Branch was established in 1989 under a contract to service John Deere. MH Equipment acquired the facility in 2000. The employees work out of a 6800 square foot building focusing on servicing Cargill and John Deere. The Ottumwa business climate is a lot different than the other MH branches. The southeast Iowa business community is a very tight knit group that works with each other to serve the needs of southeast Iowa.

The Ottumwa Branch is located on the Des Moines River. During 1993 and 2008, the river rose to flood stage threatening the facility, but both times they narrowly escaped. With amazing effort, the community banded together in time of crisis to help each other out.

A little piece of trivia about Ottumwa is that according to the hit TV show MASH, Radar O’Reilly was from Ottumwa, Iowa. Venders from all over the United States often ask the employees at the branch about that. Actually, the actor was not from Ottumwa, the show just portrayed Radar to be a farm boy from Iowa.

The Ottumwa Branch has nine employees including six technicians. The branch works well together. At the end of each day the employees do what is needed to accomplish what needs to be done. Ottumwa Branch has a large rental fleet and territory size with upward of forty to fifty pieces out at a time. The Ottumwa Branch ran a market share on truck sales of over 90% this year. Way to go Ottumwa!



 Published in the MH Insider Fall/Winter 2009