Sitting down with TCNA’s keynote speaker

Sam Moyer, Sam Moyer General Manager, ALL Tower

Sam Moyer’s ascension in the tower crane industry serves as a model of effective workforce development in the tower crane industry, and in the lifting and rigging industry as a whole. As general manager of ALL Tower, a division of the ALL Family of Companies, Moyer is a rising star in the industry’s younger generation of management. He earned the respect of his peers quickly, and he is sharp, articulate and passionate about the tower crane industry. He is also very knowledgeable.

Moyer said that his career was actually “jumpstarted” in high school by taking a computer-aided drafting and design course at the local career center. He went on to study engineering at the University of Toledo, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He worked as an intern at a structural engineering firm and continued with them after graduation. He worked as a structural engineer for two different consulting firms for about 10 years, met his wife and moved from Toledo to Cleveland while earning his professional engineering license along the way.

Then, about 10 years ago, the opportunity arose to join the ALL team as a tower crane applications engineer.

“Clay Thoreson was the general manager for ALL Tower at the time, and he was looking to expand our services to include turnkey professional engineering,” Moyer said. “I feel blessed to have learned about tower cranes under Clay’s leadership – he was definitely passionate about the industry and was gracious to share his knowledge, experience and contacts.”

As ALL Tower’s engineering services expanded, Moyer’s role expanded from applications engineer to director of engineering for tower cranes.

“Promote from within is a cornerstone philosophy at ALL, so when Clay retired, I was offered the opportunity to step into his role as general manager,” he said. “It is hard to believe that was six years ago, already.”

The tower division of ALL was founded in 2000 as a part of ALL Erection & Crane Rental in Cleveland. For the first few years, Randy Harris was the fleet manager. He moved to ALL’s crawler crane division and Rick Mikut was appointed general manager of the tower division. At the time, Mikut had already been with ALL Erection & Crane Rental for 27 years, having spent the previous 20 years in the field as a crane operator and instructor, Moyer said.

In 2005, ALL Tower Crane was officially founded around the same time that the tower division relocated to Richfield, OH. The division had about 100 tower cranes in its fleet, making it a major player in the tower crane sector in the United States.

In 2010, after the untimely passing of Randy Harris, Mikut moved to managing the crawler division and Thoreson took on the General Manager role at ALL Tower Crane.

“ALL Tower Crane in Richfield has a dedicated service team that receives and prepares new cranes to enter the rental fleet and handles prep work on units between rentals,” said Moyer. “ALL Tower’s service team is led by Marty King, a role he’s been in for more than a decade. Daniel Giera, a mechanical engineer by training with more than 15 years of experience at ALL, became our dedicated tower crane application engineer in 2018.”

What exactly is your role in terms of managing ALL Erection’s tower crane division?

My responsibilities include managing the fleet relative to purchases, sales and allocation for rentals. To stay consistent and keep a pulse on the market, I work with a small group to quote each tower crane rental opportunity and to help our sales team pursue work for our fleet. On the service side, my role is to coordinate with our team – to make sure they have the tools and information they need to be successful. Locally, I work with Marty King to coordinate service and assembly, dismantle and climbs in the greater Cleveland area and beyond, when our help is needed by other branches. I work with Daniel Giera and manage tower-crane-related engineering services for ALL.

You represent the next generation of tower crane professionals. What keeps you engaged?

For me it is a combination of the people, the unique challenges and seeing things go from design to real life – something that has always been a passion of mine. I cannot say enough how blessed I feel to be a part of this industry. The lifting industry in general, and specifically with tower cranes – it is a tight-knit group of engaged individuals. We are not just people doing a job: We truly love what we do and understand that our decisions have an impact on our industry and the broader construction industry as a whole. Beyond that, it is an industry where constant improvement is desired and embraced. For me, that is critical. The lessons learned: where can we improve; what can we do better the next time – that is what keeps me engaged.

ALL Tower has about 100 tower cranes in its fleet. Sam Moyer, general manager of ALL Tower, will be the keynote speaker at Tower Cranes North America in Nashville, TN in June.

What distinguishes ALL Erection’s tower crane division in the markets it serves?

We prioritize service and leverage an enterprise that affords us the ability to offer turnkey solutions that are customized to our customer’s needs. Our focus is on forging strong relationships throughout our team that translate into partnerships with our customers, vendors and the manufacturers we represent.

Do you tend to use one manufacturer or several? What are the predominant brands?

Over the years, we have diversified our fleet with three different manufacturers: Potain by Manitowoc, Terex and Liebherr. We do our best to be intentional with our purchases – to look at the state of the industry, where we see advantages in one particular model over another while also keeping in mind service, spare parts and our relationships with each manufacturer.

What do you see as the biggest challenges in the tower crane market?

There are really three things that seem to be at the forefront of everyone’s concerns. First, the dynamics of a changing workforce. While we have all seen this coming for years, the reality is we need to adapt quickly as a good deal of experience is retiring and there is no easy plug-and-play solution. This challenge extends beyond just our own workforce, or specifically the service side of the workforce, although that is what comes most readily to mind; we see it across the board. Couple this with new technology and the number of different models and nuances with each, and you have a real double-headed monster.

Second, the project delivery expectations and associated contracts are getting more and more challenging to navigate. The contract negotiation phase is starting later, taking longer and ending with irreconcilable differences more often.

Finally, increased costs driven by rising new equipment costs, financing costs and insurance costs.

How are tower crane rental rates playing out in today’s marketplace?

In the majority of the areas that we service we are seeing some positive pressure on rates driven by availability and a realization that the rates have to increase to keep pace with the increased costs of doing business. However, we are still seeing cost increases outpacing rate adjustments. Of course, this varies pretty significantly from one area to another throughout North America.

How do you address safety and risk management with your team?

I am blessed to be a part of a company that puts safety first and makes it paramount with a dedicated team of safety professionals, safety training and personal protective equipment. My role is to make sure the tower team is addressing the risks specific to our industry – to pass along lessons learned and best practices. Maybe most critically, though, I try to focus on the human side of safety; our service team is required to perform difficult tasks in challenging conditions in a limited amount of time on a frequent basis. I try to step into that – to work with our service team and our customers to lessen the burden to our team and make sure the job gets done safely.

What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?

That is a tough one. I am not sure it is specifically the best business advice, but I would say, the thing that has stuck with me most in my career was something that a university professor told me 20-plus years ago. Matt Lewandowski, a professional land surveyor, taught surveying at the University of Toledo. His advice was that no matter what you do, take pride in your work. My take on it was not so much to be proud of everything that you have done or accomplished. Instead, I understood it as, be intentional in everything you do – have a reason and a standard for everything that crosses your path, and make sure that before it leaves your hands it meets that standard.

What do you do when you are not working?

My wife and I have three amazing kids (or as I like to call them, “crazy shenanigators”) that are the focus of most of my time, energy and attention outside of work. I also try to stay active with our local church and enjoy as much outside time as possible.


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