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Access 101

JLG’s Legacy: A Pioneering Spirit That Drives Productive, Safe Work at Height

Blog Posts - Sep 22

JLG’s Legacy: A Pioneering Spirit That Drives Productive, Safe Work at Height

Jennifer Stiansen
Director of Marketing
JLG Industries

Through customer-inspired innovation and the exploration of new technologies, our innovation strategy is advancing the access industry on job sites around the world. And we do it all with people in mind, creating solutions that protect, elevate and empower our customers to do their jobs.

Here’s a little bit more about how we continue to build on our founder’s legacy — one that’s centered around a constant desire to keep people safe.
JLG’s Legacy: A Pioneering Spirit That Drives Productive, Safe Work at Height at a Glance

Safety From the Beginning

JLG’s attitude toward safety goes back to its roots when the company’s founder, John L. Grove, witnessed human tragedy during the building of the Hoover Dam and thought, “There has to be a better way.” That tragic incident led to many sketches until Grove came up with the boom lift concept.

Over the years, we expanded the original single model boom lift into a full line of articulating and straight-mast (i.e. telescopic) boom lifts and added scissor lifts and telehandlers to our product portfolio. While these are not our only product lines, they are our core product lines.

The innovative spirit of John L. Grove is alive and strong today across the company. We still focus on finding a better way. 

This focus has three key areas in terms of innovation: 

1. We look at safety;
2. We look at productivity;
3. And, we look at technology.

Those three things help us continue to elevate the access industry and bring products to market that give customers tangible benefits on the job site. 

How do we do that? Our engineers visit a lot of job sites, and we do a lot of observation and say, “That looks like it’s difficult for that person to do. How could we do that better? How could we integrate something into our product to make that job easier for them?”

We call it customer-inspired innovation.


Customer-Centric Mindset

JLG can offer that by its extensive use of customer feedback.

When we’re developing a product, we take prototypes out into the field and ask customers for feedback — What do you like about it? What do you not like about it? What would make this have greater value? Is this something that would be of value to your business? 

We take that feedback and then we modify and do rapid prototyping throughout the product development life cycle.


50 Years and Counting

JLG celebrated its 50th anniversary in January 2019, marking a half-century since Grove spearheaded the access industry with the introduction of the JLG 1 — the world’s first boom lift.

With this innovation, Grove not only started a company but an entire industry. This is a key point of differentiation for the JLG brand: We continue to build on this legacy through the continuous development of products, services and technology that advance safety for work at height.

Since it introduced the first commercially produced aerial work platform, JLG has claimed many access industry firsts, including:

  • Oscillating axles for boom and scissor lifts in 1981
  • The only fuel-cell powered boom lift in 1999
  • The first environmentally-friendly 60-ft electric boom lift in 2000
  • The first straight boom lift to reach 150-ft in 2011
  • The company surpassed its record in 2014 with the introduction of the 185-ft model 1850SJ, the world’s tallest self-propelled boom lift
  • In the same year, JLG introduced the first true hybrid diesel/electric boom lift, the H340AJ

John L. Grove was a skilled inventor, a savvy businessman, and an extremely hard-working individual who was driven by the pursuit of perfection in the products that bear his initials. A former employee once said, ‘You could show John L. Grove anything, even a fountain pen, and he could immediately tell you how to improve it.’

Grove formed JLG with three investing partners, and in a few short years, the company had developed a product that filled a huge void in the construction industry. Today, JLG is represented across five continents with manufacturing facilities in the United States, France, the U.K., Australia and China.

As the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of access equipment, JLG products and personnel can be found all over the world, going above and beyond to support customers. We deliver the powerful, versatile equipment they need, along with unsurpassed training and service, because we have a responsibility to be more than a manufacturing company. We’re a partner in our customers’ success, reaching out worldwide to enable performance, boost productivity, ensure uptime and support forward progress. 

Find out more about JLG by clicking here. To learn more about JLG’s half a century of progress, click here.

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