Distributor Member Profile: Delta Materials Handling

Delta Materials Handling: Keeping the Momentum with Long-Term Thinking

By Nicole Needles

If Greg Costa’s father hadn’t moved their family to Memphis from New York to become a partner of a Clark forklift dealership, he wouldn’t be where he is now: the President of Delta Materials Handling.

The company began in 1947 as the Fred J. Vandemark Company, but it has gone through generations as a Clark forklift dealer and expanded its operations each year. Today, the company offers all types of forklift parts and servicing in addition to new and used Clark, Doosan, Linde, Baoli, Princeton, Landoll Bendi and Drexel forklift sales, leases and rentals. It also offers 24-hour emergency service. Even rare replacement parts can be supplied within 48 hours. The extensive warehouse inventory will continue to grow if the team continues on this trajectory.

The company also makes its people and involvement in the community a priority by supporting institutions such as Christian Brothers University, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Fed-EX St. Jude Golf Championship.

What sets the company apart? Costa says it’s the long-term involvement of certain players from the very beginning and how far the family roots go. “We’ve had a long line of continuous service and commitment with customers. In fact, one of the very first users of the forklift was a company called Federal Compress and Warehouse back in 1947. They purchased the very first Clark forklift from the Fred J. Vandemark Company. They are still customers today,” Costa said.

It is the company’s long-term decision-making and sustainable mindset that retains customers. On average, he says each member of the management team has around 30 years of experience among them, and the average employee has been with them 12 plus years.

These working relationships and longstanding business relationships, Costa believes, also can be accredited to good communication skills and trust on both sides.

“We’re more than just a supplier of theirs. We’re partners with them,” he said. “We do things that are in the best interest of both parties, and I think that that’s very important. Whether it’s having an issue and handling the issue correctly, it’s about having the respect to do the right thing for them and knowing they’re doing the right thing for us.”

Another huge value of the company is being able to provide customers with that one-stop shop and a solution to their problems. Along with forklifts, they provide all of the material handling products that offer a creative solution to their customers’ problems.

The company reflects on its history, but it also looks forward. “We’re cautiously optimistic about 2023,” Costa said. “The Memphis market continues to be strong. We have some major economic movement in the marketplace, with large manufacturers moving into our marketing arena. That’s on a business level. It’s a very good thing for us that there are some good economic opportunities.”

Costa aims to have efficient succession planning so the company stays in the family and the family continues to be passionate about working in the company.

The balance of recruiting and hiring newer talent as well as keeping around the seasoned industry vets is the goal of the company. They work with an industry consultant to make smart hiring decisions.

Delta just celebrated its 64th anniversary and Costa commented, “Sixty-four years from now, God willing, you’ll still see the Delta Materials Handling name, you’ll still see the Costa family involved in it, and hopefully, it will continue to prosper.”