A healthy dose of optimism- PACCAR Winch VP weighs in on today’s market
By D.Ann Shiffler31 October 2022
Jim Braden believes in his company’s people and products.
Hoists and recovery winches play a critical role in the lifting and transport sectors. One of the most respected companies in this realm is PACCAR Winch, a subsidiary of PACCAR Inc. which includes the BRADEN, CARCO and Gearmatic brands.
A long-time veteran of PACCAR Winch is Jim Braden, who has been with the company for 18 years. For 10 years he worked for the PACCAR Parts Division, serving as a Kenworth district parts manager. Eight years ago, he started with PACCAR Winch as a senior district sales manager. He was promoted to director of sales and marketing and he is now vice president of sales and marketing. Prior to his tenure with PACCAR, he had roles at Haldex, MHC Kenworth and Jasper Engines.
While Braden has been a familiar face in the crane and transport sector for many years, I met him for the first time at a recent SC&RA meeting. He is quick with a handshake and a smile, and well respected among his peers and customers.
Even though he’s been in the industry for years, he seems to be just as excited about the people and the products he works with as he did when he started out.
When I asked him what keeps him engaged in this industry he said, “providing the highest quality, custom-designed hoist and recovery solutions to our customers. I truly believe that my staff, company and its products are the best in the world.”
A conversation with Braden gives you a healthy dose of optimism. I think you will be interested in learning more about Braden, his company and his team.
I understand that supply chain issues are still a big problem. Do you see these issues dissipating or getting worse?
Supply chain issues have definitely been our biggest challenge this year, and have decreased our ability to source components as well as our customers’ ability to build equipment. I do think things are getting better, but it’s a bit of a chain reaction.
Sustainability is a big buzz word in the industry today. How does PACCAR Winch approach environmental concerns and issues?
Reducing the environmental impact of our activities and products is an integral part of our process of continuous improvement. Our commitment to the environment is demonstrated in our energy-efficient operations and technologically advanced products. Both of our manufacturing facilities are proud to be zero waste to landfill as well. Our parent company PACCAR leads the industry in electric, connected and autonomous commercial vehicles.
How do you characterize the demand for electric vehicles or hybrid vehicles?
For auxiliary equipment such as winches and hoists, this will mean finding new ways of delivering increased performance while minimizing power requirements as well as developing products that utilize both stand alone and electric over hydraulic solutions.
What is your business philosophy?
Transparency and fairness in every aspect of business.
What are the most pressing challenges that you and your colleagues face in today’s market?
It will be nice when we have something else to talk about other than supply chain issues. From a product perspective, our industry is not new. Our challenge is to keep innovating and finding new and better ways to deliver the best product to the market.
What are you most optimistic about in terms of your company and its place in the market?
We have some exciting new products on the horizon for 2023 and beyond. That and our focus on building stronger relationships with our crane and transportation customers.
What do you do when you’re not working?
When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my wife and children. We love to camp, cycle and be outdoors. I also enjoy restoring classic vehicles and playing golf.
The parent company of PACCAR Winch got its start in 1905 as the Seattle Car Manufacturing Company, which became Pacific Car and Foundry Company in 1917 and was renamed PACCAR in 1972.
CARCO is the oldest PACCAR brand, launched in 1932 with the introduction of the first tractor winch with a fully housed gear train. But the oldest brand in the PACCAR Winch family is BRADEN, which was founded in 1924 and has introduced many industry leading technologies over the last (almost) 100 years, including the first oil-soaked safety brake, first conventional horizontal winch for truck bed mounting and first self-contained “power drum” hoist with gearing inside the drum. The Gearmatic brand was started in 1946 and was purchased by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1963. BRADEN was purchased in 1977. The three brands were merged under the PACCAR Winch Division in 1983 and in 1985 sales and manufacturing for all were consolidated in Broken Arrow, OK.
The PACCAR Winch family of companies encompasses three brands: BRADEN, CARCO and Gearmatic. Though there is some crossover, the primary markets for each include:
- BRADEN – utility, oil and gas, construction (mobile cranes), trailer and towing, drilling and military
- CARCO – forestry, oil and gas, construction
- Gearmatic – marine and drilling