Minnesota's Forrest Abramson signed his first construction contract in 1962; his company now has 150 employees and a large fleet of equipment.
Forrest has found two key things at Ritchie Bros. auctions over the past 30 years: equipment and a feeling of confidence.
I kept coming back to Ritchie Bros. because they had the best selection of equipment—they still do.
Forrest Abramson is a quiet, hard working man who built the family-run, northern Minnesota-based heavy highway construction company, KGM Contractors, Inc. from the ground up. He signed his fi rst construction contract in 1962 as Abramson Construction, building the Orr Airport in St. Louis County, Minnesota.
Today, the second-generation company manages up to 150 employees and a large fleet equipment. To help build this fleet, Forrest began attending Ritchie Bros. auctions in the early 1970s.
"We've built a good hunk of our fleet through Ritchie Bros.," says Forrest. "In the early days of Ritchie Bros. auctions in Minnesota you were outside, often in the rain and cold walking along with the auctioneer and the other bidders. I kept coming back to Ritchie Bros. because they had the best selection of equipment—they still do. Thankfully we don't have to walk through the rain and mud anymore [laughs]."
Throughout the years Forrest has bought and sold a lot of equipment through Ritchie Bros.
"One year we filled 10 lowboys with all the equipment we purchased at Ritchie Bros.Florida auction and shipped it all up to Minnesota," says Forrest. "As a seller, Ritchie Bros. provides us the best exposure for our equipment. The auctions are so well organized and the advertising they provide is unmatched."
After purchasing a piece of equipment, Forrest will often have it painted before he sends it out to a job site, which is made easier because of Ritchie Bros.' on-site refurbishing services.
"We bought a hot mix plant in South Carolina a few years back," he says. "We were going into the hot mix business and we wanted to look good and professional so we had the plant cleaned and painted before it went to work. You want to make a good image for your company, and clean, nicely-painted equipment can really help."
Forrest's children (sons Mark, Gary and Kerry and daughter Karla) now take care of the day-to-day operation of KGM, while Forrest serves as a mentor. The second generation of Abramsons is just as focused on quality work and great customer service.
The family seeks these same qualities in the companies they work with.
"Everyone at Ritchie Bros. provides us with great customer service," says Forrest. "Our sales representatives in Minnesota are always checking in with us to see if we need any specific types of equipment or if we have surplus equipment we need to sell."
Forrest Abramson first came to Ritchie Bros. for equipment—but it's the feeling of trust and confidence that's kept him coming back for more than 30 years.
Written and published: 2011