Published Nov 18, 2015

Branch Focus: Indiana Boomerangs

This article appeared as a sidebar to "Hoosier Pride" in ALL's Winter 15-16 issue of Lift Line. 

Everyone knows what a boomerang is — you throw it, and it turns around and returns to you. Central Rent-A-Crane has had its share of “boomerangs” as well: people who work for the company and then leave for a time, only to return later in their careers.

People leave for many reasons. They want to move to a bigger city or into a different type of work. Many moves are for family-related reasons. But two things are true: life is full of changes, and boomerangs inevitably come back. And what’s special about ALL is that often, something pulls them back. They come to realize what a unique and strong company they left behind. Then they return. 

It happened to Kevin Hileman. A third-generation crane operator, Hileman was working for Wendt in 1999 (Central purchased Wendt and opened their Fort Wayne location that year). He liked the company and the employees, but wanted to try life in a bigger city. He left Central on good terms in 2003 for Indianapolis, where he was an operator elsewhere for several years.

But he kept in touch with his former Central co-workers. 

“I told him, ‘Make us your first callback if you decide to return to the area,’” said Ed Kocsis, general manager of Central. 

“Ed was always great to work with,” Hileman said. “As I got older, I was looking for a different role. I had been an operator for decades, and thought I could share, in some capacity, all I had learned in the seat. I knew that if I wanted to stay in the industry, ALL was the place to be; there was a lot of opportunity.” 

When Hileman learned of an opportunity at Central from former co-worker Robert Daine, he expressed his interest to Kocsis. 

In 2011, Hileman happily returned to the Central fold, this time as a dispatcher. He grew and matured into the position, and now runs operations for both Central's Fort Wayne and Elkhart locations. 

Daine has been with Central since they opened in Fort Wayne in 1999. In fact, when he was an operator, Hileman was his oiler — the assistant to the crane operator who is responsible for transport, setup, whatever the operator needs. “Kevin was able to take over my role running the big hydraulic cranes when I went into an office,” said Daine, who is now in sales. “When I heard that a dispatcher was retiring, I contacted both Kevin and Ed. We needed someone with industry experience, and Kevin was more than qualified.”

Daine is effusive not only about Hileman, but about the ALL Family of Companies. “It’s more important than ever to hire qualified people, and I believe the management at ALL does an amazing job. They have always encouraged unlimited potential; if you put forth the effort, the sky’s the limit. I think that’s why people return to the company. I truly believe we are second to none.” 

But wait, there’s more. 

Lance Lattimer is another Hoosier who came back. He worked for a few years as an oiler (some of that time with Hileman) at Central starting in 1999. Life took him to Wisconsin, where he worked for Dawes, another member of the ALL Family. He then got into the windmill industry and traveled for several years. Eventually, he wanted to return to Fort Wayne. He too had maintained close ties with Central and was glad to pick up occasional work with them until he was able to return as a full-time employee in 2013. 

“Kevin and I have known each other for 14 years,” said Lattimer. “I was his oiler when he was an operator. I had been taking some OSHA compliance courses and trainer courses, hoping to eventually get into a safety job. I heard they were looking to fill such a position and went to Cleveland to interview with the safety and risk team. They offered me the safety coordinator job I’m in now.”

“They really do reward and recognize you at ALL,” Hileman summed up. “And the company continues to grow. If you’re a hard worker, you have the opportunity to grow with them.” 

Boomerangs. Comeback kids. Whatever you call them, they’re always happy to be back home at ALL.

# # #