A Sturdy Family Business with a Solid History of Excellence

Great Southern Equipment
Written by Allison Dempsey

Taking the chance on opening your own business is always a risk, but it’s that risk that drives growth in the economy. Doing it successfully, and then maintaining it for six decades is nothing short of amazing. Great Southern Equipment was founded in 1960, and next year, it will proudly celebrate 60 years of providing construction and road building equipment, parts and service. This success is due in no small part to long-time customer satisfaction and to building lasting relationship with contractors and municipalities around Florida.

Great Southern Equipment started with one location and now boasts seven, spread across Florida. While the company serves a large scale of businesses and clientele, it still remains true to its initial promise: to provide the personal care, focus and attention of a smaller company.

Founded by Ray Ferweda Sr., Great Southern Equipment was created during a surge in Florida business growth, and Ray Sr., has since passed the torch to his son, Ray Ferweda Jr., who proudly carries on the family legacy, overseeing the opening of the company’s seventh location in 2017. Those close family ties help bind the business together, and even those in management positions play a role in day-to-day operations, keeping close relationships with customers and looking after sales territories.

As an established dealer that guarantees exemplary service, Great Southern Equipment’s staff is devoted to not only providing customers with high-quality, knowledgeable assistance, but assuring each one is completely satisfied with their equipment.

Great Southern Equipment’s line of products is extensive and has expanded along with the company over the years, dealing with brands including Sakai, Vacall, Kobelco, Hitachi, Link-Belt, Kaiser and Sennebogen. The company’s complete range of heavy equipment designed for construction, road building and lifting means customers are certainly going to find what they’re looking for, and can expect expert guidance and assistance from Great Southern Equipment’s staff.

Equipment options are varied, ranging from wheel loaders to excavators, including full-size, short radius, long reach and rough terrain, road maintenance equipment such as asphalt compactors, street sweepers, catch basin cleaners and industrial vacuum loaders, and material handling equipment such as hydraulic shears, grapples, multiprocessors and scrap magnets.

And no matter what equipment customers need, Great Southern Equipment takes utmost pride in ensuring any required parts are made available when they’re required, most within 24 hours. The company maintains an extensive inventory of critical use parts with a fill rate of more than 90 percent, along with fast availability. Customers can simply check the online catalogues for the part number and contact the store with an order. Great Southern Equipment then finds the parts needed, arranged to be picked up or shipped the following day. If a part is not in stock, the company will prioritize finding it in short order, utilizing its vast network of parts resources.

Even for customers and projects outside of North America, Great Southern Equipment ships worldwide, able to export both parts and equipment to work sites globally. Whether a client is putting together a fleet for a new construction job or adding to existing fleet, Great Southern Equipment can assist in choosing the best machines for the job, with competitive pricing, no matter where the site is located.

Great Southern Equipment works hard to keep customer equipment working smoothly with its high-quality service centre, employing certified technicians who have extensive training on the equipment they service, offering state-of-the-art repair and diagnostic tools for quick turnaround, and invaluable emergency service when required. Great Southern Equipment also provides on-site service and maintenance, fluid analysis, scheduled maintenance inspections and Trackunit Telematics, which allows you to keep tabs on an entire fleet from any location.

Always on the cutting edge of new technology, the company is currently busy launching a new product from an existing manufacturer: the 718 Mobile Energy from SENNEBOGEN. This timber handling machine, already in Great Southern Equipment’s inventory, is a purpose-built material handler designed for greater efficiency than other carriers, whether they’re modified excavators, cranes or forestry machines for large tree removals.

Ideal for “urbanized applications” such as residential, roadside, parks and golf courses, this 47,180-pound 718 Mobile is especially effective on sensitive lands where larger equipment would just make a mess. Without excess size, engine power or weight, the 718 is equipped with a Hultdins hydraulic tree saw, and elevated maXcab that provides visibility and operational advantages such as the user’s ability to look more directly into trees when cutting.

The 718’s all-wheel drive and two-axle steering means the machine is able to remove trees efficiently, securely and lightly in all terrains, providing an ideal solution for all tree service operators, whether they’re thinning wood lots or harvesting wood fuel, to clearing up storm debris up to 18 inches in diameter and 40 feet high. The unique and invaluable combination of reach, versatility, mobility and fuel efficiency makes this an ideal addition to Great Southern Equipment’s already impressive store of inventory.

Great Southern Equipment also provides access to rental equipment if customers are looking for something specific for a job, with an available fleet that includes wheel loaders, vacuum trucks, soil stabilizers, demolition and compaction equipment and a variety of excavators.

No matter what clients are searching for, Great Southern Equipment staff are all committed to helping customers achieve satisfactory results and quality service. With the Ferweda family’s long and impressive history in the construction industry, including brothers Ray and Koop creating the first hydraulic excavator that eventually became the Gradall excavator line, the company and its staff know the equipment and know how to keep customers coming back.

Service and reliability has played a major role in the Ferweda family’s business right from the start, and continues to remain top priority today. Staff are dedicated to both serving customers and maintaining quality service and supplies for every equipment need while providing superior brands and replacement parts as quickly as possible, to keep customer business flowing uninterrupted.

Customer satisfaction will always be a priority for Great Southern Equipment, and it is built right into the workplace culture, having begun with Ray Sr., and now passed on to Ray Jr., and every employee who works diligently to keep customers satisfied. The company’s open door policy serves to encourage both efficient communication and innovative problem solving, helping everyone to feel as though they’re part of a well-oiled machine.

Great Southern Equipment is also proudly associated with numerous organizations including Asphalt Contractors Association of Florida, Associated Equipment Dealers, Florida Recyclers Association, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., and the International Society of Aboriculture.

Boasting an enduring focus on customers and an innate understanding and empathy for what it takes to run a business and not just equipment, Great Southern Equipment has successfully lasted for 60 years with its knowledge, expertise and quality service, with plans to last at least that many more in the years to come.



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