Dick Phillips was working as the General Manager of Sims Crane in Tampa, Florida when he moved his family to Atlanta in June of 1982. He was sent to serve as VP of a new Sims acquisition called Southeast Lift Equipment, but upon returning from vacation in the summer of 1983, learned that the company had been shut down. Although he was invited back to his former position in Tampa, Dick could see that there was opportunity for a new crane rental operation in Atlanta.
He enlisted the advice of his friend Bill Dickerson, who already owned an LLC in the crane business. The two got together at a local Holiday Inn and worked into the wee hours of the morning on their new business plan. Bill wasn't interested in selling any of his cranes and Dick didn't have the money to buy any of them up front, so what they decided was for Dick to lease from Bill's supply of 36 mostly-idle cranes. Bill and his four children would each own 10% stock and Dick's CPA Ernie Baer provided the sweat equity.
Ernie suggested that, since this new business was "rising out of the ashes of Sims' failed Atlanta acquisition", the company should be named after the Phoenix of Greek Mythology. So with a second $25,000 mortgage on their house, a new Chevy S-10 pickup, an answering service and a post office box, Dick and Sally Phillips founded Phoenix Crane Rental on September 1, 1983. Sally ran the books while Dick went out pushing sales and "calling on red dirt" to every construction site he could find.
After just two years in business, Dick was able to buy the 40% stock controlled by the Dickerson family. Ernie Baer stayed on as Dick's CPA and financial advisor until February of 1992 when his interest was bought out by the Phillips family. By 1993, Phoenix began acquiring its closest competitors in Atlanta. They started with Southern Machinery Movers & Erectors, which doubled the size of the business and retained its customer base. In June 2002, Phoenix bought Elberton Crane & Rigging to form Northeast Georgia Crane & Rigging, and were able to move operations to Athens 9 months later. Phoenix then bought B & B Crane & Rigging Service in May of 2004, forming its Gainesville branch.
Today, Phoenix Crane operates over 65 cranes out of 6 Georgia locations, with 3 central dispatch offices. Many of of Dick and Sally's children and grandchildren have joined the business during its growth, and in July of 2016, the Phillips family sold the company to its employees. This decision was made in order to protect the company's employees from any disruptive changes in operations, and to ensure future growth and benefits - one of the best ways to attract and keep the best operators in the industry. From our family to yours, we thank you for over 30 years in business, and look forward to 30 more!