Originally from Baltimore, MD, Alex Berg, owner and president of Triple E Equipment, grew up in the demolition business. Both his father and grandfather had demolition businesses. Berg's uncle still has a demolition business. After graduating from The University of Central Florida, Berg went to work for his father and concentrated mostly on interior work inside hospitals, airports and other buildings. While doing a job at the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, he needed a certain type of machine to do some specific work inside the airport. Because of the close quarters and harmful exhaust, he wasn't allowed to use standard gasoline or diesel powered machines. He needed something with zero emissions.
"We came across our solution while at an equipment trade show in Munich, Germany," he said. "I asked how we could get one and they responded that they didn't have a dealer in the United States. We ended up buying directly from the company. We liked the machines so much that I expressed an interest in becoming an exclusive dealer and saw it as a new business opportunity."
Triple E Equipment, which stands for Environmentally Energy Efficient, was incorporated at the end of 2013. Berg transitioned out of his father's business into his own business at the beginning of 2014. He sold several machines to his father's company and, from there, word got out in the demolition community that a newer, cleaner, safer and lighter piece of equipment was now available.. Growth has been steady ever since.
From startup to second-stage
Berg shared his journey including his outlook on starting his own business and some of the challenges he faced along the way. "Honestly, it never occurred to me to be nervous," he said. "For the first few years, I was having fun and just focused on selling something I believed in. That's not to say there haven't been any challenges. After all, it's the construction industry and our customer is typically the guy that loves his big truck. We're basically trying to sell them a battery-powered mini Bobcat. It's like trying to sell a Ford Ranger to a guy that's used to driving a Ford F-350. Tesla has helped in terms of publicity. Battery-powered equipment is definitely a real thing now."
It certainly is a real thing and one that is gaining in popularity as builders become more conscious of their impact on the environment. As Berg shared, his equipment is great for remodeling schools, hospitals, food processing facilities or anything indoors where fumes and exhaust from traditional machinery could cause issues. A job that would normally take 10 people to accomplish can be completed with one battery-powered mini-loader and a team of two. It's also great for companies located on upper floors of high-rise buildings looking to remodel their offices. In fact, Berg currently has 15 of his machines doing a job inside the Willis Tower, formerly called the Sears Tower in Chicago.
Today, Triple E Equipment has 13 full-time employees, including salespeople in New Jersey, Los Angeles, Chicago, Columbus, Orlando and at the corporate HQ in Pompano Beach. According to Berg, the company is best described as young and scaling and focused on four core values. "Number one, we don't beat around the bush," he said. "We pride ourselves on having tough conversations. Number two, we want everyone to feel like they're part of the family. Number three, it's important to do what you say you're going to do. Number four, we want people that are driven to succeed. We're always trying to be the best at what we do."
In terms of philanthropic activities and community involvement, Triple E Equipment has donated equipment to SOS Children's Villages Florida, a neighborhood in nearby Coconut Creek for foster children. They've also done stuff with The Cleveland Clinic of Florida and The American Heart Association, including donating a portion of sales from custom-painted equipment.
What it means to be a Florida Companies to Watch Honoree
"It's pretty awesome," he said. "To be recognized for what we've been doing and building is really cool. We're constantly on the grind. It really feels amazing for others to notice our efforts. In terms of why we were selected, I think that what we're doing is very different. It's not every day you see someone challenging the status quo of what's being used on a consistent basis. People walk by our booth at trade-shows and are amazed to find out our machines are battery powered. It's outside of what people have seen for years and years."
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
Berg offers up some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to start their own business. "Do it," he said. "I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and own my own business. There's nothing more satisfying than seeing something you built. I think anyone can do it if they have passion and work hard. I honestly think that if you have an idea, there's a need for it and it's different than what's currently available, then you can't fail as long as you don't give up."