More room for the big stuff

Murphy Tractor and Equipment expands the shop where it services massive excavators, payloaders and other heavy duty equipment

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Collin Bauch, a service technician at Murphy Tractor and Equipment Co., works on changing a snow blade inside the new shop addition.

Murphy Tractor and Equipment Co., 1303 Third Ave. NW, has expanded its shop space to allow its technicians to work inside on the massive excavators, payloaders and other heavy duty equipment it rents, according to Bruce Stover, branch manager.

The John Deere equipment is used throughout a 17-county region surrounding Fort Dodge.

City and county workers, farmers and contractors are among the users of the machinery.

Work on expanding the shop began in November of 2017.

The project was completed in June.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Bruce Stover, branch manager at Murphy Tractor and Equipment Co., poses next to a group of John Deere excavators outside of the company’s offices, located at 1303 Third Ave. NW.

An addition was made to the south end of the structure. It is 75 feet long and 80 feet wide.

“We basically doubled our shop space,” Stover said. “We were growing out of our shop area. The machinery gets bigger and bigger every year, so we just needed more space.”

He added, “It’s a welcome addition. We have needed it.”

Stover has been with Murphy Tractor in Fort Dodge since 2002.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Collin Bauch, a service technician at Murphy Tractor and Equipment Co., completes an inspection of a wheel loader.

He said the most noticeable change in the industry has been the technological advances within the machines.

“The equipment is changing, just the technology in the equipment,” he said. “They are doing more GPS to do your final grading. Computers to diagnose the machine.”

The advances in technology translate to more efficiency with materials used by contractors, he said.

“If you have one specific project you are doing you can get an engineers file, put it into the machine and it will tell you where to cut grade at,” Stover said. “Where to add material. It cuts down on underusing or overusing material. It’s more precise.”

Murphy Tractor in Fort Dodge rents and leases the John Deere Construction and Forestry line and the Hitachi line for excavators.

Most of the machines are equipped with JDLink.

“It will advise you if you are having a problem with the machine and we can diagnose it before we leave the shop area to go out and fix it,” Stover said.

According to information on John Deere’s website, the technology “let’s you track your machines, which machines are working and if they are working properly and to their utmost productivity and efficiency.”

Murphy Tractor employs 11 people at its Fort Dodge location.

Two salesmen split the territories, Stover said.

Mike Albright is responsible for the southern portion, including Fort Dodge, while Chad King sells in the northern counties, including Hancock County.

Stover oversees a service manager and parts manager.

Two road technicians are employed at the shop and two go out on the road.

“We have two service trucks that run out on the road to take care of any service needs,” Stover said.

One challenge the industry is facing is finding and retaining qualified technicians, according to Stover.

“Finding young technicians that want to get in this line of work,” he said. “It’s getting harder and harder to find technicians. We are fortunate to have some very good technicians right now. We offer a program out in Milford for young technicians would go to. We are always looking for technicians.”

Technicians at Murphy diagnose any problems with equipment and make the necessary repairs.

Stover himself grew up around farm machinery in Pocahontas County.

“I grew up in small town Rolfe,” he said. “Going through the ’80s, I didn’t see any future in farming for me.”

As a result, Stover sought other opportunities.

It took some time, but eventually he was offered a job at Murphy Tractor and Equipment.

“I tried a few other jobs, but they didn’t interest me,” he said. “There was a territory sales manager position open for me here and I always liked being around equipment. Sixteen years later, here I am.”

Getting to know customers and coworkers has been a highlight.

“I just enjoy being with the people, visiting with the people,” he said. “Just the relationships I’ve built over the years with customers and fellow employees.”

About Murphy Tractor and Equipment Co.

Murphy Tractor and Equipment Co. was launched in 1984 in Wichita, Kansas.

It expanded into Nebraska, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in the years that followed.

In 2002, the company expanded into Iowa. Murphy Tractor and Equipment has 28 locations in the United States.

Its Iowa locations include Fort Dodge, Des Moines, Waterloo and Sioux City.

The Fort Dodge facility at 1303 Third Ave. NW has rented heavy equipment since the 1970s under a few different owners, according to Stover.

Murphy Tractor and Equipment took over the Fort Dodge location in 2002.