Brent Hillabrand grew up in a forklift family, watching and learning the ins and outs of the industry from his father’s lift trucks dealership.
Today, Hillabrand leads a team of more than 600 associates as President & CEO of Carolina Handling, but the business has grown far beyond forklifts
“We’re in the material handling business,” HIllabrand said. “We sell Raymond forklifts, but we sell a bunch of other products, as well, in the automation space, conveyance, rack. Pretty much anything you see inside a warehouse or manufacturing facility – outside of the manufacturing equipment itself – we sell and service.”
Founded with five associates working out of a gas station in North Carolina, Carolina Handling is celebrating its 55th anniversary in 2021 with 600+ employees housed in offices in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Atlanta, Birmingham, Greenville, SC and Piedmont SC.
The company is the exclusive Raymond supplier in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida’s upper panhandle, with all of the Raymond equipment sold throughout the Southeast going through Carolina Handling’s Equipment Distribution Center in Piedmont. The facility also houses the company’s rental equipment program, parts distribution center and forklift training program.
“Piedmont is a central location for us, so we do a lot of equipment distribution through this market, but South Carolina, in general, is one of our fastest-growing markets,” Hillabrand said. “We have a lot of great customers and partners in this market, some of which are TTI in Anderson, Michelin and BMW, so we’re very proud to have them as customers.”
As business and industry grapples with issues such as labor shortages and increasing e-commerce and distribution demands, Carolina Handling’s Intralogistics Solutions Group has become the fastest growing part of the business.
“The labor shortage has made a huge push. People are coming to us daily,” Hillabrand said. “We help customers transition into automation by focusing more on the steps that it takes to improve your processes that lead to automation. We really try to put a focus on solutions versus products, and then the products lead themselves to whatever the solution is.”
Interest in automated solutions is so great, in fact, that Carolina Handling has hired 50 new associates since July of this year and presently has 50 open positions across the company.
“We’ll continue to grow year-over-year. I don’t see that slowing any time soon,” Hillabrand said. “If you’re looking for a great company to partner with, our culture sets us apart. We’re the right people to partner with whether you’re someone who wants to find a great place to work or you’re looking to partner with a company to help your business.”
For more information, visit carolinahandling.com or call (704) 357-6273.