On the Waterfront
Randy Ringhaver likes to call the Lift Trucks division Ring Power’s leading economic indicator. Just about every kind of business needs to handle and store materials at some point, he reasons, and will need some kind of forklift to do so. In turn, when forklift sales perk up, it’s an important signal that the overall economy is about to follow suit.
In 1974, forklift sales were indeed an indicator - of Ring Power Corporation’s future.
L.C. Ringhaver announced the formation of a new “Lift Truck” division October 1 that year. Being the 12-year-old company’s first major corporate expansion was significant in itself. But the real significance lay in how Ring Power embraced the opportunity.
Selling and servicing forklifts was an idea that originated with Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois. Having purchased Towmotor Corporation and its line of lift trucks in the mid-1960s, Caterpillar was ready to offer its existing network of heavy equipment dealers new sales channels for the material handling product line by the mid-1970s.
L.C. Ringhaver saw the new product line as a fresh business opportunity to be seized - and a chance to expand his customer base considerably. Never mind that neither he nor his colleagues knew much about forklifts and what it might take to sell and service them, Ring had made the leap from shrimp boats to bulldozers; how hard could it be? If adding them to the company’s repertoire made business sense and could help better serve or acquire new customers, Ring was all for it.
For the Ring Power Liftruck Division, success had been steady over the years, but - as always - there was a learning curve to climb at first.
“There was a much different sales strategy. Initially, we tried to apply Cat techniques, but then we had to adjust,” he adds. Over time, Ringhaver adds modestly, “we’ve made a pretty good business out of it.”
Continually seeking new business opportunities soon became an ongoing strategy and the very fabric of the company’s operation.
Ring Power Corporation Appointed Full-Line Caterpillar Dealer
There were no shortage of candidates, but in the end Caterpillar determined L.C. Ringhaver was the best candidate and awarded Ring Power Corporation the appointment as a full- line Caterpillar dealer in 1962. Ring Power Corporation grew extensively under Ring's leadership, adding divisions and building new facilities in Jacksonville, Ocala and Tallahassee.
Changing the Guard
In 1976 L.C. Ringhaver passed away, leaving uncertainty in the business community as to Ring Power's future. Although L.C. Ringhaver's sons, Lance and Randy had grown up working for Ring Power and learning every facet of the family business, Lance was just 36; Randy, only 28. Customarily Caterpillar did not appoint dealer principals in their twenties or thirties. But Caterpillar renewed the dealer agreement, affirming their confidence in Ring Power's current management.
Due to Ring's health complications, Lance Ringhaver had already been appointed company president in 1976, with Ring assuming a supervisory role as chairman. Lance's promotion came after four years of experience serving as Executive Vice President and General Manager. Also by 1976, Randy was serving as Vice President and Secretary - revolutionizing the Cat business model status quo and building a new foundation for subsequent success in the used equipment sales, international sales and equipment rental business.
In 1986, Rozier Machinery Company, held jointly by three sisters, decided to exit the Caterpillar business. The decision left Caterpillar with a decision of its own: who to appoint to serve the Central Florida territory. After weeks of negotiations and an impressive presentation Lance Ringhaver got the call that Caterpillar had chosen Ring Power Corporation to become its Central Florida Dealer. Caterpillar insisted that a new company was formed to serve the new territory, thus Ringhaver Equipment Company of Tampa was formed under the RPC, Inc. umbrella.
Lance decided to make the move to Tampa to establish Ringhaver Equipment Company, leaving Randy with the new authority of President and General Manager of Ring Power Corporation. Ringhaver Equipment Company's agreement with Caterpillar officially began September 1, 1986. Ringhaver Equipment Company was able to accomplish in three years what others had done in thirty, establishing one of the quickest growing Caterpillar dealerships in the country.
The turn of the century heralded big changes for Ringhaver Equipment Company and Ring Power Corporation. After 14 years of operating separately, health issues precipitated plans for Lance's retirement.
Lance's retirement in December 2003 afforded the opportunity to combine the two sister companies into one organization and Caterpillar approved the merger of the two dealerships as Ring Power. Today Randy Ringhaver serves as President and Chairman of Ring Power Corporation.
In 2005 Ring Power moved into its new corporate headquarters in St. Augustine, just a dozen miles or so from where L.C. Ringhaver started it all in 1947. Today, Ring Power Corporate headquarters in St. Augustine oversees the operations of 18 branch locations throughout the state of Florida, including large regional facilities in Tampa and Orlando and crane and forklift sales and service facilities in Pompano Beach and Miami. Ring Power also has eight facilities outside of Florida - Rhode Island, New Jersey, the Carolinas, Georgia, Texas and California - to serve the needs of other specialized industries and customers.
55 Years Serving Florida
From our earliest beginnings as DESCO, a shrimp boat manufacturer in St. Augustine, Fla. in the 1950s, our focus has always been on our customers.
L.C. Ringhaver leaves Cleveland, Ohio for St. Augustine where he begins working at Diesel Engine Sales Company (DESCO)
L.C. Ringhaver becomes the sole owner of DESCO
Caterpillar Tractor Company appoints L.C. Ringhaver as a Cat engine dealer
Ring Power Corporation becomes a full-line Caterpillar dealer for North Florida
Ring Power announces the addition of the new Liftruck Division.
Lance Ringhaver named president following the passing of L.C. Ringhaver
Ringhaver Equipment Company formed as Cat dealer for Central Florida territory
Ring Power and Ringhaver Equipment Company merge
Ring Power Corporations celebrates 50 years as a Caterpillar dealer
Ring Power Corporation has become one of the largest Caterpillar dealers in the Southeastern United States through dedication to the mission of customer service. In order to preserve the "Customers First" reputation that Ring Power was built on, we continually train our employees and work closely with our customers to assure complete satisfaction, especially after the sale.