There’s Much More to Cranes than People Think – and the ‘More’ is at Leavitt Cranes

Leavitt Cranes

To most of us, construction cranes all look the same. To those in industry who rely on cranes, however, they are crucial to job success, tasked with hoisting anything from heavy concrete to delicate glass. As such, the right supplier and perfect crane choice can put your company ahead of the competition.

Leavitt Cranes is an authorized supplier for a variety of different cranes from industry-leading suppliers. With branches in British Columbia, Alberta and Washington, they sell and rent new and used cranes across North America while selling used cranes globally.

Leavitt offers a wide selection of cranes for all of your company’s needs. Their inventory includes mobile, carry deck, rough terrain, mini crawler, flat top tower, hammerhead tower, luffing tower, and self-erecting cranes. They also provide a variety of crane attachments alongside glass handling equipment. The company supplies new cranes from Terex, Potain, Broderson, Jekko, Sypdercrane, Smartlift and Kroll, while offering attachments from Butti – each brand selected for its adherence to quality and safety.

Erick Zampini, General Manager of Leavitt Cranes, has been with the company for over 24 years, and has seen it grow exponentially since its humble beginnings in western Canada. “We’ve had a safe and successful track record, while bringing a consultative approach to the client,” Zampini says. “I’m very proud of the team we’ve formed. I’m extremely thankful to our customers and our existing suppliers for working with us.”

An entrepreneurial spirit
Tom Leavitt, founder of Leavitt Machinery, won ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2014 from ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Canada’ (EY). EY represents 145 cities in more than 60 countries and recognizes those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses.

Tom Leavitt acquired a cranes business in 2006 and added it to the Leavitt Machinery portfolio, which provides material handling equipment and training for many industries. The crane division became so successful by 2015 that it was granted its own entity called Leavitt Cranes. This gave the company more room to focus on its primary goal – to provide the most comprehensive, consumer-focused crane experience.

So what is the consumer experience like?

“First and foremost – we try to understand the customer’s needs as best as possible,” says Zampini. During a discussion with sales reps, project goals are outlined. The sales rep, along with a project manager, will visit the site to make sure there are no safety issues involving power lines, cranes crossing over each other, or nearby buildings.

Design by dialogue
“Then we take it back to our engineer to map out what the crane looks like and where it’s going to stand,” says Zampini. The engineer then conducts an in-depth analysis and sometimes modifies the initial position of the crane. Like all things with Leavitt, there is a lot of dialogue involved.

“Having that second layer of professionalism helps to let the customer understand how it’s going to look, then to see if it makes sense and we have dialogue from there.”

“It may be a rent for purchase, it may be a sale, it may be a long-term lease,” continues Zampini. “We try to present a number of options to the client, so they feel that they’re not just boxed into one. If this is something they’re doing repeatedly, maybe they should consider purchasing a crane or look into updating their existing fleet.”

A personable process
When clients are ready to rent or purchase, the process is made easy. Leavitt Cranes Financing Division offers a personable and straightforward process by connecting clients with one specific person. Financing options include trade-in programs, ownership, and lease options as well as helping clients manage cash flow while conserving work capital.

Part of bringing the best experience to consumers involves bringing the best cranes, specific to customers’ needs, and a new addition to Leavitt Crane’s fleet is from Kroll, a company based in Denmark. Leavitt is the sole importer of Kroll cranes for North America and has partnered with Kroll to meet the growing demand for wind turbines across the region.

Meeting wind installation requirements
Typically, operators use all-terrain and heavy crawlers for installing wind turbines. With the growing popularity of renewable energies, Kroll designed a crane specific to the needs of wind installations to help save operators time and money, while still adhering to strict safety standards.

The new designs enable higher levels and heavier nacelle weight requirements than other cranes used for this work. Kroll tower cranes for the wind industry offer lift capacities from 95 to 150 tonnes and heights under hook from 157 to 195 meters.

These cranes are currently used throughout Europe and Asia and are making their way into North America, thanks to Leavitt Cranes.

“The crane landed in Ontario and will be put to work this weekend,” says Zampini. “We are managing our first wind farm in Eastern Canada… This is significant because this is the first crane of its kind in North America.”

The wind turbine cranes are adaptable to small hardstands for minimized footprints. The free-standing mast designs require no tie-in to the turbine tower of the wind turbine, saving a lot of time on installation and disassembly. This also makes it well-suited for future maintenance. At full height, it can maintain operation in wind conditions of up to 20 m/s and up to 15 m/s under full load.

The power to be delicate
At the other end of the spectrum, Leavitt Cranes is also procuring some of the tiniest cranes in the industry. Imported from Italy, Jekko Mini Cranes are “a tiny little crane that fits through a single door but has a bunch of different models,” says Zampini.

These cranes are typically utilized for glass handling, removing the burden of handling glass by hand. They possess the ability to hoist glass from the ground or hang off buildings to rappel glass to installation sites. Zampini stated that, “In the past, workers would have to carry hundreds of pounds of glass across the site. This practice would often lead to fatigue and an increased risk of safety incidents.” By offering dedicated glass handlers, Leavitt Cranes is helping to increase site safety. Additionally, every unit is all-electric, making them a low-impact choice that is safe for any work environment.

The team that installs and maintains each crane is second to none. New hires go through a rigorous selection process and are continually trained and updated on the latest techniques and technologies.

“We are constantly providing training to our employees – our technicians love training,” says Zampini, “we even send people to Italy for training and have brought instructors from other parts of the world to perform training at our branches. We believe in it, and we continue to do it year after year, because we want the best in the industry on our team.”

Having a safety moment
Part of being the best means incorporating best practices into weekly routines. This means starting meetings with a “safety moment,” where crews discuss and review best practices.

Leavitt Cranes is committed to health and safety as a core value and strives to not only meet but to exceed health and safety standards. Leavitt Cranes has been COR Certified in BC since 2016 and is dedicated to continuous improvement through regular evaluation and evolution of their safety program. Zampini believes that “by being COR certified, we are always moving our safety program forward to benefit both our employees and customers. Our customers can be confident they are working with a company that values health and safety practices.”

For Zampini, it’s also about making employees feel good about their job. “We take pride in being malleable and flexible with our employees. It’s recommended, but not regimented. We understand that people have extracurricular activities and we try to work around them. It’s what defined that. It’s an individual approach to a larger team because each person has different needs.”

Employees are given very competitive benefit packages, with the ability to move up in the ranks. “We try to show praise where praise is due,” explains Zampini. “If you’re willing to come in, work diligently, safely, and have a good attitude, you’re going to be at the forefront for promotion. And we’re growing – so you could end up in a lot of places.”

With Leavitt Cranes’ fast growth, many employees have been promoted – but not without proper planning and vetting. Zampini says, “If we’re thinking of expanding a certain way down the road, we try to get the person who will run it in place now, so we can train them to know what will be happening.”

Zampini has seen the company grow tremendously in under a decade. This growth is largely due to the company’s diligence in providing a customer-oriented experience and selling and renting nothing but the best cranes in the business across North America.

Seeing Red

In 2018, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released several of the worst examples of so-called “Red Tape” that businesses and developers need to complete before getting projects off the ground. The list reads almost as a cautionary tale for anyone hoping to get a development, whether a condominium or a warehouse, completed quickly and on time.

December 14, 2019, 5:31 AM EST