On the Waterfront
It's ironic that a company whose
growth, opportunities, achievements and reputation arose on land
actually got its start on the water.
In 1947 L.C. Ringhaver, or "Ring," as
he liked to be called, left Cleveland, Ohio for St. Augustine,
Florida. The 36-year-old accountant had been tasked with finding a
way to dramatically increase production at a modest shrimp boat
industry that was suddenly awash in post-war demand.
Once Ring took charge of DESCO,
production jumped quickly. Convinced that assembly- line production
would turn out better boats at less cost to the buyer, Ring
implemented manufacturing techniques he picked up during his
previous time with GM's Cleveland Diesel. Within a decade,
the company was launching two shrimp trawlers every week. The
company's payroll jumped as well, from 35 to 200. By 1952 DESCO was
the world's largest builder of shrimp trawlers. Ring purchased
Desco from GM along with business partner James Melton. Five years
later, Ring became the company's sole owner.
Ring's ownership gave the company more
freedom to appraise - and purchase - diesel engines built by other
manufactures. After years of carefully observing top marine engine
producers, Ring drew conclusions that repeatedly led to his
recommendation of engines built by Caterpillar Tractor Company. By
the late 1950's, DESCO had become Florida's single largest
Caterpillar engine customer.
In 1961, Ring Power Corporation was
born when Caterpillar chose Ring as its official engine dealer.
Just a year later the president of Lobrano Machinery Company
passed away. Lobrano had been the Caterpillar dealer principal for
North Florida, and his passing left Caterpillar in need of a new
earthmoving equipment dealer in North Florida.
Ring Power Corporation Appointed Full-Line Caterpillar
There were no shortage of candidates,
but in the end Caterpillar determined L.C. Ringhaver was the best
candidate and awarded Ring Power Corporation the appointment as a
full- line Caterpillar dealer in 1962.
Ring Power Corporation grew
extensively under Ring's leadership, adding divisions and building
new facilities in Jacksonville, Ocala and Tallahassee.
Changing the Guard
In 1976 L.C. Ringhaver passed away,
leaving uncertainty in the business community as to Ring Power's
future. Although L.C. Ringhaver's sons, Lance and Randy had grown
up working for Ring Power and learning every facet of the family
Lance was just 36; Randy, only 28.
Customarily Caterpillar did not appoint dealer principals in their
twenties or thirties. But Caterpillar renewed the dealer agreement,
affirming their confidence in Ring Power's current management.
Due to Ring's health complications,
Lance Ringhaver had already been appointed company president in
1976, with Ring assuming a supervisory role as chairman. Lance's
promotion came after four years of experience serving as Executive
Vice President and General Manager. Also by 1976, Randy was serving
as Vice President and Secretary - revolutionizing the Cat business
model status quo and building a new foundation for subsequent
success in the used equipment sales, international sales and
equipment rental business.
In 1986, Rozier Machinery Company,
held jointly by three sisters, decided to exit the Caterpillar
business. The decision left Caterpillar with a decision of its own:
who to appoint to serve the Central Florida territory. After weeks
of negotiations and an impressive presentation Lance Ringhaver got
the call that Caterpillar had chosen Ring Power Corporation to
become its Central Florida Dealer. Caterpillar insisted that a new
company was formed to serve the new territory, thus Ringhaver
Equipment Company of Tampa was formed under the RPC, Inc.
Lance decided to make the move to
Tampa to establish Ringhaver Equipment Company, leaving Randy with
the new authority of President and General Manager of Ring Power
Corporation. Ringhaver Equipment Company's agreement with
Caterpillar officially began September 1, 1986. Ringhaver Equipment
Company was able to accomplish in three years what others had
done in thirty, establishing one of the quickest growing
Caterpillar dealerships in the country.
One Company. One Vision.
The turn of the century heralded big
changes for Ringhaver Equipment Company and Ring Power Corporation.
After 14 years of operating separately, health issues precipitated
plans for Lance's retirement.
Lance's retirement in December 2003
afforded the opportunity to combine the two sister companies into
one organization and Caterpillar approved the merger of the two
dealerships as Ring Power. Today Randy Ringhaver serves as
President and Chairman of Ring Power Corporation, with Lance
Ringhaver serving as chairman emeritus.
Coming Full Circle
In 2005 Ring Power moved into its new
corporate headquarters in St. Augustine, just a dozen miles or so
from where L.C. Ringhaver started it all in 1947. Today, Ring Power
Corporate headquarters in St. Augustine oversees the operations of
18 branch locations throughout the state of Florida, including
large regional facilities in Tampa and Orlando and crane and
forklift sales and service facilities in Pompano Beach and Miami.
Ring Power also has eight facilities outside of Florida - Rhode
Island, New Jersey, the Carolinas, Georgia, Texas and California -
to serve the needs of other specialized industries and
Ring Power Corporation has become one
of the largest Caterpillar dealers in the Southeastern United
States through dedication to the mission of customer service. In
order to preserve the "Customers First" reputation that Ring Power
was built on, we continually train our employees and work closely
with our customers to assure complete satisfaction, especially
after the sale.