HiLift Jack President/CEO Austin Harrah joins us for Episode 125


Companies that survive five generations are a rarity, Austin Harrah shares some perspective about what it’s like in families with that kind of history. It’s an identity he wears on his sleeve as they ramp up for even more work.  Always a pleasure to talk to old friends.

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4:16 – I actually started off-roading in high school when I shouldn’t have been off-roading

10:38 – I am not cut out for this kind of freedom

19:06 – my sister and I are fifth-generation, we started in 1895

26:21 – just a couple of guys having too many beers

36:56 – we had to have a tow truck come and they used a HiLift jack to jack up the tongue of the trailer

47:52 – And then one fateful day at church, foster family in our church had a little boy. He was meant to be ours

1:00:08 – we’re going back to being Bloomfield Manufacturing again

We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.


[00:01:47.170] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Austin Harrah. Austin is spotter extraordinaire in rock crawling. From the middle ages of rock crawling I’d call it. And then he’s also the CEO and president of Hi Lift. So Austin, thank you for coming on board and spending some time and talking with us.

[00:02:13.450] – Austin Harrah

Rich, thanks for having me and I appreciate your podcast and what you’re doing to the industry. It’s a really informative show that is often also fun and funny to listen to.

[00:02:25.720] – Big Rich Klein

Well, we try to we try to be entertaining and give people a history lesson at the same time. Let’s dive right in like we always do. And Austin, where were you born and raised?

[00:02:38.640] – Austin Harrah

I was born and raised in Bloomfield, Indiana. Small town. We have close to 2500 people and it’s probably 90 miles south southwest of Indianapolis.

[00:02:52.520] – Big Rich Klein

Okay. I was wondering exactly where it was. I knew that it was near Indy, so let’s talk about that. And what was life like growing up there.

[00:03:08.930] – Austin Harrah

With any small town America? Everybody knew your business. Everybody knew where you were supposed to be and where you weren’t supposed to be at any time. You didn’t just have one set of parents, you know, you had the whole neighborhood, the whole town looked after everybody. We have two stoplights. So you couldn’t really do anything across town and mom and dad wouldn’t know about it by the time you got home.

[00:03:31.650] – Big Rich Klein

Yeah, two stoplights. That’s awesome.

[00:03:34.220] – Austin Harrah

Still do.

[00:03:35.020] – Big Rich Klein

That’s excellent. That’s one reason I love Mason, Texas, where we have our hotel and where we’re probably going to end up settling some year is that we have a stop sign and no stop lights.

[00:03:49.320] – Austin Harrah

Nice. Does make it nice. Traffic sometimes gets a little backed up, but it’s better than the interstate.

[00:03:55.080] – Big Rich Klein

Yeah, absolutely. So then with everybody knowing your business and your parents knowing what you were doing all the time and I grew up in a town of like 50,000 people, and it still seemed like that was the case. What was school like for you?

[00:04:16.110] – Austin Harrah

School here and Bloomfield was fun. We had a really close class as far as just being friendly and everything. Just elementary school, I really can’t remember much of that. It’s been so long. Not really that long, but it seems like a long time. High school and junior high. We had a pretty good basketball team that I wasn’t part of, but I played golf in high school and actually started offroading in high school when I shouldn’t have been offroading, but that’s part of it.

[00:04:55.790] – Big Rich Klein

We’ll get back to the golf here in a bit, but let’s get to let’s find out about some of that off roading that you shouldn’t have been doing.

[00:05:04.210] – Austin Harrah

Well, my parents had one of the first generation Gators. I remember quite vividly. It was the day before we started our freshman year of high school, and all my buddies were over and my parents were gone or something. And we took their Gators brand new and just absolutely buried it up to the frame behind their house. We had a pretty good sized woods behind our house where we’d cut trails for boilers and things, but the Gator was not so lucky. And that was probably about 5 hours of digging and actually using a high lift jack to get out. We thought we had it all cleaned up really good. And the next day my dad took it somewhere and raised the bed up to dump something and noticed that the engine was just covered in mud. Then I learned my lesson after that.

[00:06:05.070] – Big Rich Klein

Make sure you find all the mud.  READ MORE

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