ATA Featured Member: Empire Southwest

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Empire Southwest was founded in 1950. Since coming to Arizona in 1959 Empire has been instrumental in building the infrastructure, shaping the landscape, and powering Arizona communities. Empire Power Systems (EPS)—an operating division of Empire Southwest—is the authorized Caterpillar® engine and power systems distributor for Arizona, Southeastern California, and portions of Northern Mexico.

Empire (located at 840 N. 43rd Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85009) is growing to offer additional support to their markets, which include trucks, generators, machines, hydraulic equipment, compressors, machining and transport equipment. New Arizona facilities are being built to make sure customers have a place to go for parts and service within a 30 mile area. Empire’s vision is to continue to be the best in the industry – from On-Highway trucks and equipment to Off-Road machinery.

Company leaders say that a key factor in Empire’s success is the company’s superior product support team. Their long-term business relationship with customers only begins once a sale is complete. While CAT and Empire products are highly recognizable, Empire people are what make the company world-class. All employees understand that the service they provide makes a difference in the lives and business objectives of their customers. Each member of the Empire organization continues to strive for excellence and live up to the corporate and family values of: Integrity, Respect, Teamwork, Excellence, Stewardship, and Astonishment (in other words deliver on our promises to our customers ahead of schedule.)

“McKELVEY Trucking has been dealing with Empire SW since 1995 and using CAT since 1991. The service Empire has provided us over the years has been far superior to the other engine manufacturers we have used in the past. We are a CAT-only fleet now. Between CAT’s engine performance and Empire’s service we will continue to be loyal customers!”

David Gomez, Director of Maintenance, McKELVEY Trucking

Empire Power Systems has been a fully-engaged member of ATA since February 1963, often lending their training room and facilities for ATA classes and meetings. According to Mike Shannon, Truck Engine Business Manager and ATA board member, “Being involved in ATA and supporting our industry makes us a better partner for our customers. ATA provides up-to-date information, the opportunity for informative interaction with other members and, most importantly, the chance to make new friends within the industry.”

Like many other heavy-duty engine suppliers, Empire Southwest is concerned about the impact emission changes will have on their business. The 2007 engine standards required a 90% reduction in pollutants regulated under the federal Clean Air Act. Meeting the standards meant jumping a significant hurdle for all engine manufacturers. Just ahead, meeting the 2010 standards will require even greater reductions in emissions. The increasing cost of equipment and fuel is also a growing concern.

Caterpillar’s innovative Advance Combustion Emissions Reduction Technology (ACERT®) meets today’s clean air regulations and establishes the building blocks for attaining tomorrow’s requirements without the fuel and maintenance penalties associated with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) engines.

“The technologies vary, but I feel very confident in our manufacturers’ abilities to provide durable and reliable products”, said Shannon. “I also have concerns about how California’s stricter emission laws differ from other states. I think that the EPA needs to drive standardized emission regulations. One state versus another is absurd and needs to be better controlled!”

In addition to OEM and customer training, Empire Southwest offers diesel technician internships to qualifying students through the company’s ThinkBig program. This program is designed to prepare students for careers as diesel technicians and is administered in partnership with Mesa Community College.

Empire Transport, the company’s trucking subsidiary, joined ATA as a motor carrier member in February 1991. Since that time, the trucking entity has been a partner in the association’s safety programs and in efforts to improve operating conditions and permitting for over-dimensional loads. Empire’s drivers are 100% Highway Watch® trained. Highway Watch® provides participants with observational tools that capitalize on their expert understanding of the transportation environment to report real-time safety and security concerns to a central call center.

“Empire has a lot to be proud of – 4,000,000 miles without an accident is admirable. ATA is proud to have such a safety conscious company as part of our association.”

Gerri Mashburn, Highway Watch Coordinator, Arizona Trucking Association

Company officials and drivers also participate in the annual Arizona Truck Driving Competition. In 2006, Empire driver Johnny Curry took first place in the flatbed category and went to the National Truck Driving Championships in New Orleans as one of Arizona’s eight representatives. Johnny also was named Empire’s Driver of the Year in 2006. During the annual Fleet Safety Competition co-sponsored by ATA and Great West Casualty Co., Empire Transport received a first-place award in the heavy-haul category. Empire Transport’s transportation manager David Badger was also recently elected to the association’s Board of Directors.

When asked about the key value of being a member of ATA and other industry associations, Mike Shannon said, “They also seek to increase awareness. Fellow members should utilize the strengths of the ATA. As we grow in numbers we build in strength. Empire will continue to support all our associations because our customers are that important to us.” For additional information, please contact Mike Shannon at 602 333 5601 or via email at mshannon@empire-cat.com.