Behind the Blueprint: An Interview with Mike McCluskey - 1620 Workwear, Inc icon

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Behind the Blueprint: An Interview with Mike McCluskey

by Mary Farrington March 07, 2024 3 min read

Behind the Blueprint: An Interview with Mike McCluskey

 

There are a lot of unsung jobs in the trades, ones that you might not see or think about, but that are the backbone of American industries. So, earlier this year, we sat down with Mike McCluskey and Brian Degnan, who work at Brodie Toyota Lift, to learn more about what they and the company do every day, and what they’re looking forward to for this year.

The Foundation of the Company

Question: Most of your work happens behind the scenes, so can you describe what Brodie does and the impact you have on the companies you work with?

Answer: Our team collectively helps our customers’ operations move product. Nearly all businesses have to move something. We have over 5,000 customers in our business system. Their companies range from multi-billion-dollar global manufacturing facilities to owner/operator trucking providers, and everything in between. We have a saying for new associates: ‘Any building you see with a loading dock is a potential customer.’ Whether it’s for unloading raw materials for production, moving goods from one process to another in a facility, putting pallets of stock in the warehouse, or loading delivery trucks to be delivered to customers, a forklift is making all that possible. Our team of technicians, with the support of our parts associates and support team, keep those machines operating smoothly. It doesn’t matter if your forklift is on the dock in Gloucester, putting away pallets of ice cream in a negative twenty-degree freezer, or replacing a hydraulic hose in a parking lot on a hundred-degree summer day, we are here to keep things moving forward.

Question: You celebrated 75 years for the company last year. What has it been like to look back and see how much the company has grown and changed?

Answer: Celebrating our 75th was certainly a milestone moment. I have been with the Brodie team for 13 years now and seeing our growth, even in just a short time, is amazing. We have increased our team by 30% and improved our business and facilities across the board. It comes down to the culture that is engrained in all of us, our focus on providing the best customer experience. That starts with the leadership and our veteran associates and at the end of the day we all know that each of us has an integral part to play.

Getting into the Daily Grind

Question: What’s the most difficult part about your work? And on the flip side, what’s the most exciting or fulfilling part?

Answer: One of the more challenging aspects of my position is navigating the balance of being positioned to grow while still being conservative enough for a potential market cool down. This is most apparent in inventory control. Some of our truck models have over a 2-year lead time. Ordering a very specific type of forklift that you won’t get for 2 years is a challenging task. A lot can happen in 2 years and potentially the need for that specific truck will dry up. On the other hand, if we don’t pipeline inventory, we won’t have any units to support our customers and they will be forced to look elsewhere.

The most fulfilling part of my job is watching the synergy and collaboration of the team grow. We embrace departments working together and supporting each other. There are no silos here and no walls between departments. We strive to identify any tasks that only one person knows how to perform and encourage cross training. Everyone has the common goal of improving the customer experience and the words ‘that’s not my job’ are not tolerated here at all.

Question: What is it like to work with family?

Answer: The family atmosphere is very strong at Brodie. There are many instances where there are immediate family members working together, as well as some more distant cousins, nephews, brother in-laws, and more. At Brodie we always try to hire through referral, since personal networks usually provide the best candidates. I love the family atmosphere here and hope one day my daughters will join the team full-time.

Looking to the Future

Question: What do you see for the company and your industry over the coming year?

Answer: 2024 we’re forecasting to be a ‘back to normal’ year. In 2022 our market experienced double the normal order intake, where 2023 was less than our average order level. We are continuing to add members to the team and to see growth, especially on the aftermarket side, as we get into this year.

Learn More About Brodie Toyota Lift

Check out their website here, and follow the company on Instagram.

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