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Basement Beginnings to Global Giant

Genie Industries celebrates 40 years in business.


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Genie's first material-handling unit, the Genie Hoist lift platform.

October 4, 2006 • Much like any other business, Genie Industries, Redmond, Wash., started out with small means and a big idea. For 40 years, the company has drawn from its ingenuity, continuing to be more successful with each new product introduction. As Genie celebrates its 40th anniversary, Lift and Access 360 looks back at the steps Genie has taken to become the global success it is today.

 

Early products and today's favorites

For Bud Bushnell, who started Genie Industries in 1966 out of the basement of his home in Seattle, Wash., his dream was to make material handling simpler with an automated, lightweight portable lift that was capable of raising heavy materials into position. Bushnell invented the Genie Hoist, a lift platform powered by a bottle of carbon dioxide, which became an immediate success in light construction applications. This “bottled magic” was reminiscent of the popular television show, “I Dream of Jeannie,” which inspired the Genie name.

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Superlift material lifts are still popular today.
Genie built on the success of the Genie Hoist by introducing products that continued to deliver effective solutions to lifting challenges. The company grew steadily throughout the 1970s with the addition of aluminum material-handling devices, including the Teletower, Airdeck, Genie Tower, and Supertower. Notable introductions include the 1973 development of an aluminum extrusion for hand-cranking materials in place and the popular Superlift material lift in 1974. Finally in 1978, Genie introduced the first personnel lift featuring one-person portability, foreshadowing its future success.

 

Known as a company of firsts, Genie was first in the industry to introduce an electric drive, self-propelled articulating boom lift • the Z-30/20, which was brought to market in 1985. Genie also launched the IWP in 1993, the first aerial work platform designed to work without outriggers. Other aerial work platform introductions include its scissor lift product line in 1997, trailer-mounted booms in 1998, and rough-terrain scissor lifts in 1999. In the 21st century, Genie launched its super booms, the runabout, trailer-mounted light towers, and big deck rough-terrain scissor lifts.

 

At first, Genie marketed its products to wholesale construction and equipment suppliers, but in the mid-1980s, the company started marketing its products to the rental industry. Today, all products are targeted toward rental. Today's most popular Genie products include the GS-1530 and GS-1930 scissor lifts, the Z-45 articulating boom lift, the TZ trailer-mounted articulating boom lifts, the AWP-25DC aerial work platform, and the SLC24 Superlift.

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Offering a broad range of products, Genie now brands Terex telehandlers as its own.

Genie Industries was a privately held company until September 2002, when it was acquired by Terex Corporation, the third largest construction equipment manufacturer in the world. The three owners of Genie Industries, Bob Wilkerson, Roger Brown, and Ward Bushnell (the founder's son), continued to run the company for Terex. Until yesterday, Wilkerson served as the president of the Terex Aerial Work Platforms division, which includes Genie products. Brown continues as Vice President of Worldwide Sales. Bushnell retired in April 2005. Since becoming part of Terex Corporation, Genie now offers a broad range of Terex products, including telehandlers and compact construction products.

 

Corporate Culture

 While new product development has always been a key focus for Genie, the company prides itself on its people. In its 40 years in business, the company has grown from a small core group of employees into a team of more than 3,200 engineers, craftsmen, and customer service staff. One common goal among Genie's employees is to provide complete customer satisfaction for every customer. To do so, the company sets high quality standards for each step of the manufacturing process; it continuously improves its lifting equipment to meet the market needs; it delivers a comprehensive technical support system; and the company provides customers with valuable products useful in a variety of applications.

 

Since 1966, Genie has seen tremendous growth in all facets of its business. Today, Genie products are built in 10 specialized manufacturing plants comprising nearly 1.5 million square feet. The company services customers in 72 countries and continues to expand its global distribution network.

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