Taking it Higher

Empire Crane Company
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

When Brothers Paul and Luke Lonergan were thinking about a name for their company, one immediately came to mind: Empire, after New York’s legendary Empire State Building. Twenty years on, the Empire Crane Company has grown to become one of America’s foremost specialists in the sector, focusing exclusively on crane sales, service, parts, and rentals.

As a specialized business, Empire Crane provides boom trucks, crawlers, telehandlers, truck cranes, and much more. An authorized dealer for Tadano, Manitex, Terex, Broderson, Magni, and other well-known manufacturers, the team at Empire Crane knows the industry inside and out and works with customers to ensure they receive the best products for their needs.

Family service, multiple locations
Headquartered in the brothers’ hometown of Syracuse, New York, Empire Crane has grown to include two other locations, in Holbrook, MA, and Bridgewater, NJ. Along with its three locations, Empire has on-the-road technicians available to support its many clients.

“At all of our locations, we always keep the most updated technology so we can best serve our customers,” says company President Paul J. Lonergan. “Crane and lifting technology is always changing and therefore our service methods and parts availability need to adapt as well.”

Although the company has grown into a business of about 25 employees—some new, others with the business for over a decade—Empire Crane maintains a family-type atmosphere of accountability, camaraderie, and professionalism.

“I think having employees that have stuck with us for so long makes it feel more like a family business,” comments Chief Executive Officer Luke J. Lonergan. “It’s nice to have a reliable team whether they’re family or long-time ‘family-like’ employees.” Luke’s wife, Jackie, is also part of the Empire Crane team in accounts payable, while Paul’s son is now a parts representative. After finishing his studies, he came to Empire Crane and is now learning the ins and outs of this important industry.

Keeping America going
Today, Empire Crane focuses on customers in the greater northeast area of the United States, from Niagara Falls to Boston, and Maine to New Jersey.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Empire was deemed essential since parts and services were required to keep equipment going on construction sites and projects moving forward. Since the company is very hands-on and most of its work could not be done virtually from home, Empire was unfortunately forced to lay off staff for a short while during the worst of the pandemic.

“We were honestly lucky that the vast majority of our team was ready to come back to work when we felt it was safe,” says Paul J. Lonergan. “Our entire team was understanding, and we navigated it day by day.”

Trade fairs return
As the world slowly returns to normal, the Lonergan brothers are again attending and showcasing crane products at some of the world’s foremost trade shows. Recently, the two were in Munich, Germany for “bauma,” billed as “the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Construction Machinery, Building Material Machines, Mining Machines, Construction Vehicles, and Construction Equipment.” The brothers met with some of their manufacturers and customers at the event.

The company was also pleased to attend TCI Expo ’22. Hosted by the Tree Care Industry Association, TCI Expo remains the industry’s single-biggest trade show and conference, bringing tree care companies and equipment providers together since 1990.

At the Expo, Empire Crane displayed two of the products it carries, a Magni Rotating Telehandler with a Woodcracker, and a Manitex boom truck. Pairing a Magni Rotating Telehandler with a Woodcracker—a tree cutting attachment—makes removing tree limbs safer, and more precise and efficient, requiring fewer workers for the job.

Known as one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of innovative high-capacity lifting equipment, Manitex provides boom trucks and aerial work platforms for demanding industries including tree trimming arborists, oil / gas / petroleum, marine / dock, power line / utility, concrete precast delivery, telecommunication, and many others.

This coming March, Empire Crane Company will be at CONEXPO-CON/AGG. Held in Las Vegas, it is North America’s biggest construction trade show at 2.7 million square feet, 1,800 exhibitors, and 150 education sessions. CONEXPO-CON/AGG will see Empire display products including a Tadano all-terrain crane—the new 2022 Tadano AC 3.060-1 comes in 10 different sizes, ranging from 45 tons to 600 tons—and a Jekko on show.

A new star appears
“We recently started working with Jekko Cranes which is a mini crane supplier based in Italy,” says Lonergan. “A customer in Rochester, New York requested a small articulated crawler crane which got us connected with Jekko, and now we have a stock unit on order that’ll be arriving Q2 next year. We’ve only just started working with them and are excited to see where the new relationship takes us.”

A world-leading manufacturer of small, mini, and crawler cranes, Italy-based Jekko has almost half a century of industry experience and is represented by over 30 authorized dealers.

To mark the 20th anniversary of Empire Crane, Paul and Luke Lonergan had lunch with their staff to thank them for their support and good work over the years and shared some fun throwback photos and a trivia contest for followers on the company’s social media accounts.

The team at Empire looks forward to the coming years and to providing its long-time and new clients with the best sales, service, parts, and rentals on the market.

“Crane technology is always changing, customer needs are always changing, and the world and the way people work is always changing,” says Paul J. Lonergan. “We adapt. We’ve survived the past 20 years by always adapting to the times and we’re excited to see what the next 20 will bring.”

A Growing Team
The Empire Crane Company has come a long way since it was founded 20 years ago. Since 2020, Empire has welcomed new staff to the business:
• Mike Baron – WNY Sales
• Joe Baron – New England Sales
• Josh Stack – New England Sales
• Rebecca York – Sales Administrator
• Blake Lonergan – Parts Sales
• John Esposito – Parts Sales
• Jackie Lonergan – Accounts Payable
• Kathy Baxter – Accounting Assistant
• Shelby Caparco – Marketing Assistant
• Lisa Prentice – Service Coordinator
• Max Macaulay – Service Technician



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