In order to offer better customer service, five different parent companies reorganized to provide similar service throughout the nation.
With a name change in 2008, each of the five branches, one in Williamsport, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and Texas, became Equipment Depot, John Ventre, Vice President of Material Handling, said.
There are now 40 locations throughout 12 states.
Equipment Depot, originally Forklifts Inc., on South Reach Road, above, is undergoing a reorganization.
"In order to be consistent, we needed to take a more procedural approach in the way we meant to market." Ventre said. "We made a plan so that we could operate as one location with 40 locations."
Each company is still run as an independent business.
In 2008, the companies were acquired by the parent company, Pond, who began buying companies in 2000 with the original Equipment Depot in Texas. The five companies were different entities with independent owners and the staff remained the same. They still operated under their original methods, even after the name change.
"The Equipment Depot project was: How can we have five companies as one wholly owned in one fashion?" Ventre said.
The Williamsport branch, which began in 1966 under the name Fork Lifts Inc., has been a "key cog" because of the gas industry, Scott Myers, regional operations director, said.
Having many different locations means the customer has the choices of a large company with the customer service of a local one.
"Companies that are far flung can do things other companies can't do," Myers said. "It's very important while we can have a national footprint, we're still local. It's the power of big with the service of small."
It is not just the drilling, but also the ancillary jobs creating new business.
Myers said that since some of the gas industry workers have come from Texas, they are already familiar with Equipment Depot.
"We sell, provide service parts and rent aerial and lift equipment," Myers said. "We've been a staple in the region for a long time, before the shale business started booming."
Ventre said that there are lots of different opportunities to learn about with the gas industry in Williamsport.
"It's a new customer segment," he said. "We see that going in Texas. We're able to participate with more customers all the way down to West Virginia. It's a learning exercise."
The gas industry tends to rent short-term equipment more than purchase, Ventre said, which is a service that not every company provides.
"In terms of our abilities to rent equipment, we have the largest footprint to offer to customers," he said.
How the collaboration works is through five presidents and one CEO. Houston, Texas is the headquarters for all of the different branches.
There are no immediate plans for consolidating, Ventre said.
"Strategically, most locations are set up to best service customers in geographic areas," he said. "We're constantly looking at that to see if we need more or less."
Nationwide, Equipment Depot has a customer base of about 20,000 customers.
In the future, Ventre said the company's plan is to better cover customers in the area and geographic growth.