Richland — The name is changing but not the commitment to service as Great Southern Tractor becomes Lyle Machinery, effective with the New Year. The Lyle family, lead by company president John Lyle, is making the change to better reflect that the business offers much more than tractors as the previous name implied.
“There will be no changes in our management team, our employees or the outstanding products and services that we offer,” he said. “Everything our customers have known through the years will be the same.”
Jimmy Lyle is vice president and secretary and Dan Lyle is executive vice president and treasurer. “We had the opportunity to buy out the minority owners and make it a family business,” John Lyle, who’s been involved in the equipment business since 1958, said. “I want to turn it over to my sons. That was the reason for doing it and now they’ve got the whole thing. It worked out good for long range planning and consistency.”
Jimmy Lyle hastened to add that his dad — age 66 — isn’t going anywhere just yet. “As a family working together, we push each other hard. We’re all very competitive,” he said.
The family has a combined 75 years experience in the construction industry in Mississippi. They believe the new name offers a more personal identity for friends, customers and business associates. They and their 74 employees will offer the same attention to service customers have come to expect.
“The only thing that actually changed was the name. Our intentions are to do the same things we’ve been doing,” John Lyle said. “Customers will see the same employee faces and talk to the same people.”
The Lyles say the company is growing by leaps and bounds. Much of that success is attributed to loyal customers and employees, the performance and reliability of Komatsu equipment, and an experienced management team. They see a lot of room for growth in the future as a large portion of the state recovers and rebuilds from Hurricane Katrina. The company sells and services heavy equipment used in construction, utility, cleanup and the forestry and timber industry.
“Our equipment is used for everything going on in South Mississippi,” John Lyle said. “It will be a boom time.”
The company already covered three-quarters of the state with a home office in Richland and locations in Biloxi and Columbus. A larger main office will relocate in the Metro Jackson area. The family is closing on the land and hopes to be in a new facility by the end of the year. The Biloxi facility — in need of more space before the hurricane — was blown away and will be rebuilt.
“We were up and running in about three days after the storm. Our employees never stopped working,” Jimmy Lyle said. “We see a great future on the Coast. That location has always been a big part of our business. In the next 10 to 15 years, it will be very busy.”
A new facility will be built in Hattiesburg where Great Southern Tractor had a location years ago. “We’re moving back in,” John Lyle said. “Even before Katrina we had planned to go back there. General construction and forestry are growing there. Now all the trees destroyed by Katrina will be replanted.”
He adds that his company saw a good business future before the storm, but the killer hurricane will fast forward business growth in the whole state as the state benefits from billions of federal aid.
Lyle Machinery sells and services Komatsu, Dressta and Dynapac brands. Komatsu, a manufacturer that’s been around for many years, makes excavators, bulldozers and other heavy equipment. They do not make compaction equipment but these, along with bucket and front loaders, are supplied by Dressta and Dynapac. Although Lyle Machinery also rents equipment, sales make up the largest volume of its business.
“Komatsu’s quality standards and our passion for service have enabled our customers to achieve the highest levels of production possible for the lowest cost per hour in the industry,” he said. “It’s a very good product, probably the world’s best kept secret. Once someone buys it, they believe in it.”
They sell to the largest and smallest construction companies. Lyle Machinery is a Komatsu America Premier Partner Dealer and has been for several years. Customer representatives undergo training to assure that state-of-the-art solutions are provided for equipment needs.
They offer 24-hour-a-day parts service coupled with 10 fully-equipped field service trucks to provide a virtual blanket of accessibility for customers. Parts and filters are delivered to job sites to keep equipment running and productive.
Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at email@example.com.