Barnhart started in 1969 with one branch and a handful of loyal customers. Today, there are more than 50 branches across the United States and the customer list has grown accordingly. That’s in part because of attention to customer service and living by some ironclad rules.

Ten Rules of Customer Service

  1. Always provide service safely.
  2.  Always observe the customer’s safety rules and regulations.
  3.  Always be on time.
  4.  Always be courteous.
  5.  Always work overtime when it is requested by the customer.
  6.  Never neglect safety procedures in an attempt to please the customer.
  7.  Never damage equipment in an attempt to please the customer.
  8.  Never dress or act unprofessionally.
  9.  Never refer to the company or its employees in a negative light.
  10. Never forget, it is the customer who pays you.

Many of these rules apply to all companies, whether you’re a small business, a one-person operation or a sizable crane and rigging company. It all boils down to treating the customer with respect and sticking to established procedures.  

When in doubt, remember the 10th rule.

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In the early morning hours on a frigid night in Jan. 2014, the Rose Bowl, a popular entertainment spot in Mason City, IA, caught fire. The bowling alley and restaurant was a local fixture since the 1960s. Presidential and other political hopefuls regularly used it for rallies. But now it was damaged beyond repair.  

For the next seven years the building sat vacant, becoming an eyesore at the entrance of the city.  

Recently, however, the branch was given new life by Barnhart’s Mason City branch. According to an article in the Globe Gazette, the once-dilapidated old building has been converted into an office and garage space.      

Photo credit: Lisa Grouette – Globe Gazette

The site’s transformation wasn’t overnight and the branch considered other locations before settling upon the 2nd Avenue site. According to Branch Manager Dan Ford, who spent time at the Rose Bowl in his younger days, “A lot of vision was needed to build what we currently have now.”

Barnhart did a build-to-suit project with the property owner. The outside was brought up to grade and rocked. The inside space was renovated and now shows little resemblance to the bowling alley that once occupied the space, except for a few lines from the bowling lanes on the cement floor.

Photo credit: Lisa Grouette – Globe Gazette

The project is a win-win for both the city and Barnhart.  

For Mason City, an abandoned building in a prominent location is now occupied. This provides a potential cornerstone for future development. Just as vacant buildings have a negative impact on surrounding areas, revitalized buildings have a positive one.

Barnhart gets a spacious new office with plenty of room for equipment and employees. This includes around 20,000 square feet of inside space and 6.5 acres of outside parking and storage space. The location is also ideal.  

 “This location provides us with room for growth,” says Ford. “Plus, it has easy access to all main state highways and interstates, and still sits in the center of our customer base.”

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Crane and Rigging Plus a Whole Lot More

Barnhart is known for crane and rigging service, but that’s not all we do.  With a 60-plus team of engineers across our 50 branches, you could also call us a planning and engineering company.

These professionals are experts at finding creative solutions to complex problems. Solutions that save you time and money, particularly when they are involved in the early stages of a project.

The next time you need advanced planning and engineering service, consider the crane company.  

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Demonstration Explores Undersea Vehicle Transport

Barnhart was recently part of a demonstration at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) in Southern California involving vehicles that will probe the depths of the ocean.

The demonstration was part of a U.S. Navy project. According to a press release from the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center, the Navy awarded a fabrication contract to Boeing in 2019 for five extra-large unmanned undersea vehicle prototypes — widely referred to as the Orca XLUUV.

To further the study of XLUUV prototype facilities capabilities on the West Coast, testing was scheduled at NBVC. The goal was to simulate the assembly, transportation and disassembly of the 85-foot-long, 90-ton undersea vehicle.

Photo: Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center video

A conceptual mockup was created to the dimensional specifications of a typical Orca. It comprised two 40-foot ISO containers, which acted as the vehicles’ separate halves. Barnhart was called in to provide the manpower and equipment — including single-propelled modular trailers (SPMTs) and a portable heavy-lift gantry system — to offload and transport the mockup.

The ISO containers were trucked in to NBVC. The Barnhart team offloaded each container from a flatbed truck with 500-ton gantries. The two containers were assembled under the gantries to the full length of the Orca prototype.

The day-long demonstration also included a travel test to ensure that the mock payload had the capability to maneuver through the existing facilities. Once the mock vehicle was fully assembled it was loaded onto two SPMTs. The SPMTs maneuvered the path from the assembly site, in and out of a maintenance building, to the wharf, back to the building and back to the site.

Upon their successful return, the containers were placed in a storage configuration to demonstrate XLUUV prototype dry storage when not in use, and then disassembled using the same equipment designated for the initial mock vehicle assembly.

The Orca XLUUV is among several undersea systems the Navy has been exploring. The first prototype is expected for delivery at NBVC in 2022.

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July 4th: From Happiness to Hot Dogs

The 4th of July is celebrated with fireworks, hot dogs and parades. But what are we celebrating anyway? 

The holiday, also known as Independence Day, was when the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, right? Actually, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by delegates of the thirteen colonies on July 4th, but wasn’t signed until about a month later.

The Declaration of Independence was adopted while the Continental Army was at war with Great Britain. The Revolutionary War had started in 1775 with the Battles of Lexington and Concord.   

The document was a statement that the colonies regarded themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. They had had enough of the British and King George! However, it would still take until 1781 to make that official when the Continental Army defeated the British and forced a surrender at Yorktown, Virginia.

In 1941, the 4th of July became a federal holiday, though it was celebrated in some form since 1777.   

Meaning and Mustard

The most famous passage from the Declaration of Independence contains these words.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Did Thomas Jefferson, who is credited as the main author of the Declaration of Independence, mean an elusive quest for happiness?  It’s open to interpretation. Scholars believe that Jefferson meant the practicing of happiness, not just chasing it. 

There will be lots of that on display at celebrations and cookouts this weekend. And the centerpiece of any 4th Celebration is the hot dog. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans will enjoy 150 million hot dogs on Independence Day. That’s enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times.

Joey Chestnut accounts for more than his share. He’s the 13-time holder of the Mustard Belt from the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. The event is held every July 4th at Coney Island. Chestnut ate a record 75 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes at the 2020 contest.

This weekend, whether you’re eating a hot dog or two or more, celebrating your independence or practicing happiness, do it safely.

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Lady Justice Gets a Lift from Barnhart

Barnhart played a part in the recent restoration of a historic Holmes County Courthouse in Millersburg, Ohio. The courthouse, constructed in 1885, was in bad need of repair to restore it to its former glory.

The project involved the removal and replacement of the clock tower façade. A new cupola had to be fabricated. The Lady Justice statue that resided on the second floor balcony for decades also had to be moved.

Photo credit: Kevin Lynch The Daily Record

Midstate Constractors headed up the project with the assistance of Barnhart. They constructed a new cupola around the original steel frame. Several ornamental pieces were fabricated to make them look as close to the originals as possible. This involved the creation of Ionic capitals, columns and decorative cornices. According to a story in local news source, The Daily Record, there was enough copper on the project to make 4,883,200 pennies. 

When it was time to move the pieces to their final destinations, Barnhart’s Canton branch got to work. Using a Grove GMK 6250 crane, crane operator John-Mark Ziegler placed Lady Justice on top of a copper base high on the north side of the main roof. He then raised the copper cupola, which was guided into place by the Midstate crew.

The raising of the cupola attracted numerous spectators and a crew from Cleveland News 5. The project was profiled in the following story

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A project to remove and replace a 1,073,000 pound stator was recently featured in the May issue of American Cranes and Transport. What made this project notable was the precise calculations and testing that went into making the project a success.

The project was scheduled during an outage at a nuclear power plant in New Jersey. But before anything could be done, load tests had to be performed, including one at Barnhart’s Memphis location. 

The Memphis team assembled a Modular Lift Tower (MLT) frame in their branch yard. The test load weight, including support girders, was 1,332,160 pounds or 125% of the lift load. Once the test was completed, Barnhart match marked more than 600 components and transported them to the New Jersey site.

Load Testing using a Modular Lift Tower was performed at Barnhart’s Memphis yard.

At the site, the stator was located on a 47-foot, 7-inch tall pedestal on top of a building. Its replacement was staged outside near the plant dock. Hydraulic gantries would be used to load and unload the new stator.

Barnhart had to match mark and reassemble the testing components. The MLT and a 750-ton hydraulic turntable and slide system were utilized to rotate the stator beneath the lift tower. A hydraulic transporter was used for onsite transport of the existing and replacement stator.   

There was very little room to work in. The Lift Tower was tight between two water tanks, overhead gantry crane bents and a turbine building. There was just one foot of clearance between the turbine building and stator during the lift tower operations. An adjustable rigging link system was used to lower the stator.

There was just one foot of clearance between the stator and surrounding buildings.

Other complicating factors included underground utilities which required shoring as well as matting of the area.  Plus a tropical storm that hit during tower erection, which caused erosion.

According to the customer, the project required more than 50 calculation packages and 70 drawings. But they paid off in a project that was completed safely and without incident.  

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Notable Omissions from this Year’s Oscar List

The Oscar ceremony is coming up this weekend. While it claims to honor the finest work in the film industry, there’s a treasure trove of video achievement that wasn’t recognized.

Barnhart has an extensive video library of compelling content. And while it doesn’t contain blockbuster titles, we’d like to recognize some of the worthy contenders that were omitted.  

Entitled, “400 Ton Barge Crane,” this piece is noteworthy for its cinematic scope. How did this one not get a Supporting Role nomination? We were robbed.  

“In it for the Long Haul,” charts the compelling journey of an awkward overweight vessel. Yet, it failed to be recognized in the Live Action Short Film category.

For those who haven’t taken our informative webinars like “Crane Configurations in Bridge Building,” this video might be a candidate for Best Foreign Language Film.

Still, we are not bitter that our work was snubbed. In fact, we know that there is an audience out there for our useful and informative video library content. Plus, there’s always next year. 

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Barnhart specializes in transporting cargo from Point A to B – even when those points are roughly 9,000 miles apart. In this instance, four Texas Towers in Italy required delivery to Illinois. This journey including oceanic travel, inland US waterway navigation, over the road super-heavy transport and brutal winter weather.  

Towers in Italy

The towers, which were 87’ long and weighed up to 325,000 poinds, were barged to the Port of Marghera in Italy by the local fabricator. Barnhart received the towers from the barge at the port directly to the heavy lift vessel, BBC Everest.

After nearly a month’s journey by sea, the towers arrived at Associated Terminals in New Orleans. Barnhart’s crew received the towers to a 250’ X 54’ deck barge by the ship’s gear. The barge then headed to its final stop, a refinery in Joliet, IL. 

Enroute to Joliet, the towers traveled through various inland waterways – the Tombigbee, Tennessee, Mississippi and Illinois rivers. The barge journey was made under a dedicated tow to the roll off location.   

Snowmaggendon in Illinois

Upon arrival in Joliet, the Barnhart crew rolled the cargo off the barge and transloaded it to self-propelled platform trailers. The towers would then be delivered over the road to the project site. Barnhart had acquired the necessary road permits for this stage and planned for obstructions along the way. But Old Man Winter had other ideas.  

During the roro operations, the crew faced arctic winter weather. Snowmageddeon 2021, the paralyzing snow storms in February, resulted in icy roads and subzero temperatures. Working conditions were impossible. The arctic blast complicated the final leg and delayed delivery for days.

Once the weather finally lifted, Barnhart transported the towers to the site one by one. The sections were self-offloaded to stands and beams. Final delivery was safely completed in early March.    

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While Alan Barnhart and his brother Eric share the name behind our business, they aren’t the owners of Barnhart. They are merely the stewards of its incredible growth and success. 

In this video, Alan and his wife, Katherine, outline their spiritual journey and Barnhart’s business journey, and how those paths became one and the same.

Barnhart started in 1969 with 10 employees in one location and grew to over 1000 employees in 50 locations. Through the hard work of a talented team, the company grew from revenues of 1.5 million in 1986 to 400 million in 2019.  

Remarkably, though, the Barnharts grew the company only to give it away a decade ago. This video tells you why.      

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