Elgin Swept Crockett off His Feet

During his last year at Northern Illinois University, James Crockett began a year-long internship at Elgin Sweeper and Vactor Manufacturing and was hooked on sweeping.

“My internship with Elgin Sweeper and Vactor Manufacturing began my involvement in the sweeping industry,” says Crockett, sweeper products manager at Elgin Sweeper. “Learning the fundamentals of sweeping–including pneumatic conveyance and broom-to-conveyor interaction–was intriguing. I also received insight into the real world application of hydraulic system fundamentals, pneumatic system fundamentals, electrical systems design, sheet metal fabrication, CAD design, FEA and CFD analysis. That’s a dream come true for a young engineer.”

Crockett went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2003 and eventually took a full-time job with Elgin as a test engineer in the Environmental Solutions Group Test Lab. “Elgin Sweeper is a great company that utilizes all the engineering fundamentals that were explained in textbooks, but working here gave me the opportunity to get my hands dirty, put pen to paper, and fabricate steel design concepts for development and testing.”

Crockett then pursued his Masters in Business Administration and was promoted to design engineer in New Products Development where he was responsible for the design, testing and eventual product conception of the Elgin Megawind multi-purpose sweeper which provides leaf and debris vacuuming, catch basin cleaning and street sweeping. “I received a patent for the Fully Articulating Rear Boom Assembly to assist and enhance customer efficiency in catch basin cleaning applications. Upon completion of my MBA, I expressed an interest in marketing and pursued a career path towards product management, which is my current position at Elgin Sweeper.”

Crockett’s current role allows him to visit with customers to collect feedback which is used to enhance their product offerings and exceed customer expectations. He is also in charge of new product launches and identifying future strategic opportunities for Elgin. Crockett clearly loves his job and his company.

“Before Thanksgiving, our employees receive gift cards to ensure everyone has a turkey on their table for the holiday,” he says. “I’ve never seen other companies give that kind of attention to their employees. It’s the little things like that which often matter most. At Elgin Sweeper, the biggest asset to the company is its employees. And I think that’s what sets Elgin Sweeper apart from the rest.

“The average employment tenure at Elgin Sweeper is 21 years, which speaks highly of our company and our employees. Elgin Sweeper is a big family; everyone knows everyone in this company. We have recognition lunches or dinners for employees to highlight professional achievements, such as going 906 days without a lost-time accident.”

When asked what he enjoys most about Elgin, he says that it’s the “opportunities the company continually offers employees, the company’s culture, our leadership position in the sweeper market, and the investment the company makes in its employees, including training, continuing education, workspace safety and the organic development of talent.

He feels that this is evident through the interactions he has with other employees and customers. “During customer visits to the factory, I’m able to engage with fellow employees on the production floor. They all have a smile on their face. I can see the pride they take in their work, but more importantly, the customers can see it and feel it themselves.”

The engineering complexities in the sweeping industry may have swept Crockett away as a young engineer, but has been Elgin Sweepers’ commitment to employees and family-oriented atmosphere that has fueled his continued passion.

“In January 2015, I’ll be celebrating my 10-year anniversary at Elgin Sweeper. While I still consider myself new in this industry, the overall experience and knowledge gathered here at Elgin Sweeper spans decades. I’m looking forward to many more anniversaries with Elgin Sweeper in the years to follow.”