Empire Crane mourns the loss of crane industry mentor Thomas J. Lonergan, who died in late June after a short battle with lung cancer.

Rare in a salesman, Tom never played golf or powered up a computer. He preferred to talk face-to-face, discuss specs, and go over load charts. That was how he sold cranes. Lonergan's career spanned 40 years in the crane industry, beginning in sales at LB Smith. He went on to become a dealer representative for Pettibone before he founded CranExon.

Later, he worked in sales for Stewart Equipment, and in 1982 founded Syracuse Equipment.

In 1994 he introduced the CT-2, the first City Class all terrain crane, to the North American crane market from Germany. His involvement in the Big Dig project in Boston was a highlight of his career. He also loved working with American crawlers, finding a passion in working with Demag and getting the dealership to sell large ATs.

Lonergan experienced the pinnacle of his career over the last five years, working with his sons Paul and Luke Lonergan, owners of Empire Crane.

Lonergan will be remembered for his integrity and the way he did business, and even for his reluctance to take advantage of the technological advances. No need to fax over a load chart or e-mail a business contact. He would instead head off in his car to Boston, Connecticut, New Jersey or West Virginia, to talk about the Yankees, tractors, and cranes, and work on achieving the more personal relationship he preferred to have with his customers.

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