Producing one million Bobcat loaders is not only an unparalleled industry achievement that has impacted the livelihood of compact equipment users worldwide; it has also touched the lives of thousands more who have designed, built and backed generations of the most popular compact loaders for nearly 60 years.
Bobcat Company marked this milestone with a formal ceremony on July 12, sharing the occasion with its valued employees and the community of Gwinner, North Dakota, home to Bobcat’s primary production facility. The company also celebrated with family members of those who invented the original loader, perfected the design, brought it to market and created the brand five decades ago. Past organizational leaders and hundreds of others who have been part of the Bobcat success story were also present at the event.
The ceremony was held at the Gwinner factory and featured remarks from Rich Goldsbury, president of Bobcat and Doosan (parent company of Bobcat) for North America; Gwinner Mayor Dan McKeever; North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley; North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven and North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer. Sylvan Melroe, one of the organization’s first marketing managers, talked about the perseverance of the Melroe family, who owned Melroe Manufacturing, and built the first Bobcat loaders. He reflected upon the early days of the loader &mdash as it transitioned from the original three-wheeled version to the skid-steer loader we know today &mdash and how Melroe Manufacturing improved the design that became increasingly tested by challenging jobs the more the machine grew in popularity.
Cyril Keller, one of the brothers who invented the original three-wheeled loader and soon after partnered with Melroe Manufacturing, was on-hand as well.
The ceremony culminated with a product line roll-off of a Special Edition One-Millionth Bobcat Loader, which Bobcat is selling in limited quantities through authorized dealers.
“This entire celebration is about much more than a single loader, the actual millionth machine,” Goldsbury said. “It represents everything Bobcat has accomplished as an organization over six decades, and it signifies our vision for the future. We embrace and honor our history, so it was particularly special to have some of the company’s pioneers and early leaders here. But we wanted to bring them together with those who are moving us forward into the new era &mdash those who will help us build the next million loaders.”
The company celebrated the production of 500,000 loaders in 2001 and 750,000 units in conjunction with its 50th anniversary in 2008. The million loaders built by Bobcat represent the largest production of this equipment by any manufacturer globally.
An “Unstoppable” Force
To commemorate the year-long celebration, Bobcat developed the “Unstoppable” campaign, which recognizes the company’s rich history and heritage, yet illustrates its plans to continue to set the pace in the compact equipment markets it serves.
The celebration started in January, as Bobcat Company launched a contest that ran through June, asking participants to answer the question, “How does Bobcat make you unstoppable?” The grand prize winner, who will receive a Special Edition One-Millionth Bobcat Loader, will be named in September. Bobcat unveiled its Special Edition One-Millionth Bobcat Loaders at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show in Las Vegas in March.