Nichols Crane Rental
Location: Will County
Year Founded: 2003
Industry Group Specific: Crane Rental (Construction)
Becky Maystead has been around cranes her entire life. Her dad worked in the trades and started his first crane company 30 years ago, later launching Nichols Crane Rental in 2003. “I remember using the hand signal “boom up” to vote on family issues while growing up,” she said.
Instead of joining the family business initially, Maystead went to college, spent 15 years in the finance and operations industry and had the opportunity to run a $200 million operation with more than 120 team members. “My dad asked me many times to help do this for our family business,” said Maystead. “After some soul searching, I decided to leave a career that I loved to lead the family business.”
Nichols Crane Rental is a leading provider of crane services in the massive Chicagoland construction market. The firm works with general contractors and subcontractors for whom it is not economically or operationally feasible to own, operate and maintain a full fleet of cranes.
Now serving as president, Maystead said she found a thriving and growing company of talented individuals. “My dad and brothers had over 50 years of combined experience in the industry and had credibility with customers and employees that were essential in allowing me to step in with little industry experience,” she said. “I also found that the skills sets I’d developed were transferable to a smaller, family-owned business and complemented my family’s skill sets.”
Under Maystead’s leadership, the company established a strategy to take the company to the next level and four years later, these plans have exceeded expectations with improvements in operational processes and growth. “These accomplishments have cemented Nichols Crane as a market leader in the Chicago Crane industry,” she said.
Maystead took the helm at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which added a next level of complexity to the industry and the world. “During this time, as a leadership team, we took the time to understand what customers and employees saw as the company’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities,” she said. “I am humbled and incredibly proud of the way our team has rallied and taken share during these challenging times.”
As a result, the firm has record growth and profits and has tripled in size during the last four years.
According to her staff, Maystead is a skilled financial and general manager. “She has extensive experience running operations, large projects and initiatives and supporting them from a financial standpoint,” they said. “She has been able to take the skills and experiences she gained working for a larger organization and apply them in a small business setting very successfully.”
For her prowess and ability to lead by example, Maystead has been named a titan.
Grit. I think it's all about how you go for what you believe in and how you respond to failure.
If I believe something is the right thing to do, even if it's "impossible", requires a lot of effort or discomfort, or challenges the status quo, I will work diligently to make it happen.
Inevitably, some things don't work out and then I'm quick to move on and ready for the next challenge.