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Omaha Company Reaches New Heights Thanks to SBA-funded State Trade and Export Promotion Grants

Jim Glazer was looking for a change of pace.  After graduating from Duke University and then the University of Michigan with an MBA he spent a few years working in public accounting. But after a while he was, as he puts it, “looking for something a lot more fun.” He wanted the “opportunity to work with people, create solutions and make people’s lives better” because it’s a “lot more fun than messing around with numbers.”

That opportunity came about in 1991 for Jim, his father and his brother when they took ownership of Elliott Equipment Company. Elliott was started in Omaha, NE in 1948 by Richard Elliott. It supplied contractors with equipment to construct the electrical grid and interstate highway system after WWII. The company currently engineers and manufactures a variety of aerial work platforms, truck mounted cranes and digger derricks.

The Glazer family has successfully grown the company from 20 employees to 165 over 27 years of ownership. Elliott Equipment has significantly branched out from a product offering of two aerial work platforms to 45 different machines and continues to seek out additional product development opportunities. Elliott serves several different industries, including electrical transmission, highway and public works, sign and lighting, oil and gas and mining. Starting with two direct sales people, the business now has a network of approximately 50 distributors throughout North and South America.

Elliott Equipment has been able to successfully leverage the SBA-funded/state partnership State Trade and Exporting Promotion (STEP) program into exporting products throughout the North American, South American and Asian markets. About 5% of the company’s current sales are to international markets. Jim credits the STEP program, which offers grants to small businesses for state export programs and service as being a time-saver: “[Exporting] would have taken a lot more time without the STEP grant.” The grant monies helped defray the costs for manuals and business development, as well as allowed the firm to travel to many international locations for seminars and trade shows. Adding to their exporting opportunities has allowed the company to increase sales by approximately $2M.

Elliott Equipment’s biggest projects over the past few years have been the development of E-Line and HiReach aerial work platforms. Both are machines that allow companies to use one truck instead of two for jobs and have made work far safer for employees because they use the units’ platform for elevation instead of a crane and ladder.

Company Name: 
Elliott Equipment Company
Location: 
Omaha, NE