In Memoriam J. Martin Benchoff

18 March 2008

Former Grove President J. Martin Benchoff died at his home in Pennsylvania in July. He was 80 years old.

Benchoff started his 33-year career at Grove in 1954 as its first salesman when the company made farm wagons and had annual revenues of $700,000. He rose to become president in 1969 on the retirement of company founder Dwight Grove. Under his leadership, Grove overtook more than 150 competitors to become the world market leader in the hydraulic crane industry, making it the most profitable crane maker in the world.

At its peak in 1981, Grove's sales were more than $600 million, 20 times the volume when Benchoff first took the helm. Early in his career, Benchoff recognized the potential of hydraulic cranes at a time when the market was dominated by well-established global makers of mechanical cranes. Pushing the boundaries of the hydraulic crane, Benchoff directed his engineers to build bigger cranes with longer booms.

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