Distributor Member Profile: Fairchild Equipment

A Legacy of Growth and Innovation

By Nicole Needles

In 1985, a modest startup with just eight employees – many who remain today – and a single small branch set the stage for 10 branches, over 350 employees and a renowned player in the material handling industry. Founded by Gary Fairchild, a man whose journey took him from professional football to selling cookies to eventually being a sales professional in the industry, Fairchild Equipment had a promising future. In 1985, Fairchild took a bold leap by buying the entire dealership from his partners, going all in with his resources and securing the rest through a bank loan. This daring move would pay off in a big way.

Over the years, Fairchild Equipment has thrived. The company’s growth story includes strategic expansion of its footprint, a series of acquisitions, organic growth and the relentless dedication of its team. Their offerings have diversified, ranging from integrated systems and motive power solutions to aerial lift rentals and rail car moving services.

One of the things that has made this journey such a success is the dedication and daily implementation of the company values – Family Values, Safety Always, Customers for Life, Employer of Choice and Active in Communities. When it comes to a healthy culture, Van Clarkson, president of Fairchild Equipment and MHEDA’s 2024 Chairman of the Board, said, “Company culture is the single most important element of the business. It is the basis for every decision we make.”

The company stands out in the material handling industry through its unique approach to competition. Instead of focusing on competitors, the team prioritizes self-improvement and continuous enhancement. They believe that competition is what drives them to become better and strive for excellence.

“We have many outstanding competitors out there. Competition makes us better and leads us to strive for continuous improvement. We can’t control what they do, but we can control what we do,” Clarkson said.

It’s not just the competition that keeps Fairchild Equipment on the path to improvement, but the changing industry. Since its founding in 1985, the material handling industry and customer demands have transformed significantly. The emphasis has shifted towards electric trucks and automation. Automation is now a critical component of the industry, with a focus on making processes more efficient and streamlined. The company has adapted to these changes and positioned itself as a leader in embracing new technologies and practices. The team recognizes the enduring need for their products and services, even if customers may not always fully appreciate the critical role they play in supply chain operations.

When it comes to industry challenges, the company faces them head-on.

“All challenges can be viewed as opportunities. It’s all about how you plan for, anticipate and react to them. MHEDA helps our membership a great deal in this regard, “Clarkson said.

Looking ahead, Fairchild Equipment envisions continued expansion and a deeper dive into automated solutions. This includes automated forklifts and integrated systems that can revolutionize the industry. The company also plans to diversify its offerings further, capitalizing on emerging trends and customer demands.

Fairchild Equipment is not just a company but a dynamic force that continuously adapts, innovates and shapes the future of the material handling industry. With a customer-centric approach, a dedication to self-improvement and a vision for embracing automation, they remain at the forefront of an ever-changing industry.