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He lifted himself up through the ranks at crane firm

June 14, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

by RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

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Grove president

SHADY GROVE, Pa. - By the time Joseph Shull began as a sales trainee at Grove Manufacturing in 1968 the company's 3,000th crane had rolled off the assembly line.

Shull leaves the Grove Crane division as president and chief operating officer in September ending a 30-year career.

Between now and then he will serve in the honorary post as division chairman and has been given the honorary title of chairman of Grove Crane, one of three divisions of what since 1990 has been known as Grove Worldwide.

Headquarters for Grove Worldwide, the company's name since 1990, are in Shady Grove on the same site where the company was started in a garage by brothers Dwight L. Grove, John L. Grove and partner Wayne A. Nicarry to make farm wagons.

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Shull, 51, was 22 when he joined Grove two weeks after graduating from Juniata College with a history degree.

Shull and his wife, Laura, both from the Waynesboro area, met in 1962 at a local YMCA dance. His father, Paul Grove, principal of Waynesboro Area Senior High School, retired in 1964, the year Joseph Grove graduated from the school.

Shull remembers 1968 as a big year in his life. He was hired at Grove, got married and the couple had the first of their five children. Their youngest is now a college freshman.

Always a hard worker, but never a workaholic, Shull said he made time for his family and his outside interests, including physical fitness. He runs three to five miles a day and enjoys hiking and golf.

Shull joined Grove soon after the company was sold to Kidde Inc. Until then Grove hired experienced, professional sales people to sell its cranes to a growing network of dealers around the world. The new owners wanted to train their own sales staff. Shull was one of the first two trainees.

Two years later he was sent to Grove's sales office in St. Louis, where dealers sold cranes to the petrochemical industry in the Mississippi River valley from St. Louis to New Orleans. Later he was sent to the Richmond, Va., sales office which covered the East Coast from there south to Miami.

He was recalled to Shady Grove in 1975 and named national sales manager. "I called on big accounts all over the United States. It was a time when mega-projects were being built everywhere - dams and nuclear power plants. Being president is nice, but I really liked that job. Grove gave me an American Express card and a travel account and said, 'Go sic 'em'," he said.

It was during those years that Grove shipped its 20,000th crane, acquired National Crane Corp., makers of telescopic and truck-mounted cranes, and bought Manlift Inc., makers of boom and scissor-type cranes.

Grove Crane, Grove Manlift and National Crane are the three manufacturing divisions of Grove Worldwide with plants in the U.S., Great Britain, France and Germany.

By the time he was 34 Shull was vice-president of sales. In 1988 he was promoted to senior vice president of sales. In 1993 he went to the top as president of Grove Crane.

In March Grove was bought by Keystone Inc., a Texas investment firm. Salvatore "Sam" Bonanno took over the corporation. Last week Bonanno named Jeffrey D. Bust as Shull's successor. Bust worked previously for Manitowoc Cranes Inc., in Wisconsin, a Grove competitor.

Shull said his bosses made it clear that they wanted him to stay on. He said while that made things "very appealing," he decided it was time to leave. "Laura and I are empty nesters now," he said.

Shull will open his own consulting company and Grove will be his biggest client. "I am not retiring," he said.

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