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Hoffman Industrial CEO Shares Secrets to Marking 175th Year

Celebrating a milestone anniversary is a major success for many organizations, especially considering that approximately 45 percent of businesses don’t survive past their first five years. Here, Art Hammond, president and owner of Hoffman Industrial Company/Starlite Group, headquartered in Erie, Pennsylvania, shares the company’s secret to success as it marks its 175th year in 2021

Hoffman Industrial Co., founded in 1846, is America’s oldest riggingcompany. Tell us about how Hoffman got started and became the business it is today.

Hoffman’s earliest work was in house and barn moving, using horses, during the mid- 19th century when new areas were being developed in Erie. The Industrial Revolution and the World Wars led to a major increase in manufacturing plants driving the need for industrial services. Hoffman expanded its area of expertise and began to serve industry by rigging, moving and installing major pieces of equipment.

Hoffman Industrial Co. is now a leading rigging, machinery moving and warehousing company. Tell us more about your services and the customers you serve.

Hoffman Industrial Co. provides industrial rigging/machinery moving services in the Tri-State from single machines to entire facility relocations. In addition to rigging, our services include trucking, storage and project management.

Our customer base is diverse, from small one-person shops to Fortune 500 companies. We also serve a variety of industries including steel, tool & die, plastics, medical and many others.

For example, some included a customer who needed a small machine to be moved into a different position in their small shop. Another required an eight-week relocation project in which we rigged out equipment, loaded 49 trucks in Pennsylvania, then headed to Oklahoma where we then rigged in and mechanically assembled the equipment in a new facility.

In 2020, Hoffman Industrial announced it was merging with Starlite Group, Inc., in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Please explain the reason for this move and its benefits.

The fit and synergy is perfect. Hoffman Industrial can now offer millwrighting and machine disassembly and assembly to its rigging service, forming a turnkey rigging/ machinery operation. We will increase Starlite’s rigging/machinery moving capacity, establishing Meadville’s first full-service rigging operation, in addition to its machine tool sales and service.

The benefit of the combined company is expanded services including:

  • Rigging/Machinery Moving
  • Millwrighting/MillWrite software
  • Repair, rebuild service of all brands of machine tools
  • Warehousing
  • U.S. distributor of OX Self Propelled Trolley
  • New machine sales
  • Contract machine maintenance

Hoffman Industrial/Starlite Group has invested heavily in safety and training, as well as its equipment. Please share some examples of these investments.

The company goes above the mandatory OSHA training by requiring its workforce to attend a Qualified Rigger hands- on workshop. This includes requiring employees to pass a certification exam offered by the Crane Institute of America Certification program. This certification is nationally accredited for crane operators and rigging personnel.

Over the past several years, Hoffman Industrial has added multiple pieces of equipment including but not limited to a Hoist 25/35 forklift, Hoist 15/25 forklift, Freightliner tractor, trailer equipped with a rolling tarp, Landoll trailer and Gradeall Telehandler.

As you look forward into 2021, what is the outlook for Hoffman Industrial/ Starlite Group?

We are optimistic that 2021 will provide opportunities to invest in equipment, training and added capacity.

For continued growth, with the acquisition of Starlite, our plan is to increase our customer base and expand industrial services for existing customers.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I would like to thank our customers for trusting us with their projects and for their referrals, there is no better compliment.

I would also like to thank our employees for their hard work, dedication and commitment to satisfying our customers. Thank you for putting safety first, as well as the care you provide handling the important assets of our customers.