Profound industry knowledge, strong network in Deck Machinery, and a ferocious determination to succeed – These are the qualities that enabled Joseph Rajkumar to manage and grow North Pacific Crane Company (NPCC), a global crane manufacturer. Through the work of Joseph and previous owners, NPCC has produced over 2,275 cranes to date.
While today’s NPCC is winning contracts and recognition worldwide, Joseph’s career had a humble beginning: After graduating from the University of Mysore, India with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, he started working as an apprentice at Hindustan Machine Tools. Joseph was hired by a few companies, before his nine-year stint at drilling rig company Ingersoll Rand in India.
This was when Joseph’s wife, Dr. Nirmala Rajkumar encouraged him to try for a job in Singapore.
Uncovering opportunities in Singapore
Joseph’s initial visit to Singapore was uneventful. Compounded by visa issues, he had to shuttle between Singapore and Malaysia. Despite that, Joseph managed to return to Singapore, and landed a job through his ex-boss’s recommendation. While the salary was not reflective of Joseph’s work experience, he decided to bite the bullet.
Joseph’s first stint in Singapore started in October 1990, and his family joined him there three months later.
Making a name in the crane business
Over the next 8 years, Joseph was employed by a number of companies. He also became the regional sales manager for Singapore-based Plimsoll Corporation, an engineering firm specialising in cranes and winches.
Plimsoll’s first entry into India started with Magdala Shipyard. Joseph’s sincerity and dedication won the favour of its owner, who started giving him big orders. This paved the way for Plimsoll’s success amongst shipyards around India.A similar story unfolded in Malaysia Shipyard. Joseph’s technical knowhow and persuasiveness finally opened doors for Plimsoll, and big orders for winches came in.
Thanks to his exceptional work as a sales manager, Joseph soon became Plimsoll’s ASEAN Regional Manager.
His meteoric rise and exceptional sales numbers caught the attention of an American crane company. The crane owners flew to Singapore to meet Joseph, and he was given an attractive offer to work in the US.
Seeing how comfortable his family was in Singapore, Joseph dreaded the thought of having to relocate everyone, but his wife encouraged him to take a leap of faith and accept the job in the US.
Building North American Crane company from the ground up
After a year in the US, Joseph was recruited by the North American Crane Company (NAC) as an international sales manager. Before Joseph’s involvement, overseas sales only accounted for 5% of NAC’s total sales. But under Joseph’s care, NAC’s overseas sales rose to 45% within a span of three years.
Joseph’s stellar performance won the favour of his boss, who helped to obtain Permanent Residence for Joseph and his family in the US in December 2003.
Despite its initial successes, NAC went bankrupt in January 2004. Joseph received job offers from many competitors, but his wife had a better idea. Over the course of several evenings and weekends, Joseph, his wife and their second son Vish worked together to create a new branding for NAC. In 2004, Joseph and his wife, Dr. Nirmala Rajkumar, formed the North Pacific Crane Company LLC (NPCC) in Seattle, WA.
Scott Mathany, Joseph’s ex-colleague, then stepped in to buy over NAC from the bank. Together, Scott and Joseph would spearhead the business.
Manufacturing, fabrication and crane assembly was to be overseen by both Joseph and Scott under the Carson Hydraulics Company, owned by Scott Mathany. Joseph was to manage design, marketing, sales and servicing under NPCC.
To get NAC up and running again, Joseph had to sell his first crane from NPCC. He reconnected with the boss of Singapore-based company Zicom, and convinced him to make the purchase. With the money that was generated, Joseph re-hired NAC’s veteran design engineer Glenn Adams to head the design team. One of Joseph’s former bosses, Edward Higuera, also joined to head the parts and servicing department.
Vish when he was 13 years old was able to enchane NPCC’s sales drawings, working late hours after school, and on weekends. Joseph’s elder son, a computer engineer from UW, also lent a hand by managing NPCC’s IT systems, and fine-tuning the company website so it could bring in more sales.
Finding global success with North Pacific Crane Company
In 2007, Scott Mathany requested for NPCC to buy over all his crane designs and copyrights. Using the revenue generated over the past 3 years, and the owners’ personal savings, NPCC acquired the rights to NAC’s designs and intellectual property, owned by Scott Mathany.
Vish, now with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington, joined the Sales & Marketing department of NPCC. He was able to build great rapport, and received the support of an excellent team of design engineers and service personnel. By establishing good client relationships, and taking care of their warranty claims, Vish and team made it easy for NPCC to get repeat customers and orders.
In 2012, Joseph and his wife, Dr. Nirmala Rajkumar, started the Asia Pacific Crane Company Pte Ltd (APCC) to better serve their clients in the Asia Pacific, South Asia and Middle East regions. Cranes manufactured in NPCC (USA) are sold, installed, repaired and serviced by APCC in Singapore.
In 2013, NPCC achieved a new milestone as it bought over the manufacturing company building, along with all the machinery. Today, NPCC has an experienced team of engineers in Seattle, and an advanced one-stop crane manufacturing and refurbishing shop in Carson, Washington, USA.
It has amassed an extensive clientele over the years, including the US Navy, US Coast Guard, Edison Chouest Offshore, and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. NPCC’s cranes are also well-received in the Middle East, with notable clients such as Zakher Marine International, Al Mutawa Marine Works and Halul Offshore, to name a few.
NPCC’s success cannot be attributed to one factor alone. It is the dedication of its employees, synergy of the management, Joseph’s unwavering commitment to excellence, and constant support from his family, that brought NPCC to where it is today.
Beyond the outstanding sales figures, Joseph is also proud of the fact that a number of employees have stayed on with NPCC long term. These include Edward Higuera, Scott Mathany, Joshua Roy, Rajesh Kaduvegere, Gareth Thompson, Benicio Ermita, Kyle Ostergaurd, Dan Morris, Kevin Peppers, Vamshi Goli, Derek Mathany, Nikole Young and Sheridan Lake.
With NPCC’s superior teamwork, the company has racked up several loyal repeat customers, and is constantly adding new clients to its customer base. Even with its great track record, NPCC’s journey is far from over. As Managing Director of NPCC, Joseph is determined to continue the legacy, and help more clients around the world to buy NPCC cranes.