Many of us have childhood vacation memories that revolve around an amusement park, camping trips or time at a beach house. For Chloe Lonergan of Cicero, New York, her memories of childhood road trips involved stopping at crane yards. She loved it—and still does.
That love runs in the family. Her father, Paul Lonergan, and uncle, Luke Lonergan, founded Empire Crane Co. in 2001. But that was just an extension of the business their own father had begun, Syracuse Equipment, long before that. Chloe not only grew up around the business, but knew by her junior year in high school that she wanted to make a career of it. Her father gave her sage advice: Come work here and see if it’s truly what you want to do.
So that’s exactly what she did. During the rest of high school, she’d work at the business after school three days a week, and then full time during summers. “I’d shadow everyone, take phone calls and then as I got more involved, I’d work on accounts receivables,” she says.
Now in a junior in college at SUNY Oswego, Chloe is studying business operations management with a minor in international business. Her hope is to follow in her dad’s footsteps, traveling around the country and abroad developing and growing Empire Crane. To help her achieve that goal, she received a scholarship from Equipment Dealers Foundation. “I’m so grateful for the scholarship, as it helps tremendously on the financial end,” she says. “It’s also meaningful for me to be recognized by an industry that I want to go into.”
Finding Her Place
Chloe recognizes that she is a female entering a male dominated industry. She has already found a mentor at Empire Crane, a woman who has been working there for more than a decade. “I’m really close with her and rely on her support. It’s not always the easiest. This industry isn’t always so open to the female mindset,” she says. That, however, is not a roadblock for her. She’s excited to bring new ideas to bear on the business and the industry, especially at the intersection of technology and productivity.
The future is bright for Chloe. She is set to graduate a semester early and plans on getting an MBA right after her undergraduate studies. Her long-term goal is to work in the family business, but says that she wouldn’t discount working for another company as well at the start of her career. In addition, her passion for the crane business is rivaled only by her passion for soccer. She plays Division III soccer at college and is the team captain as a junior. Her dream is to keep that passion alive after leaving the team by coaching children. “I’ve always loved soccer and would like to pass my passion on to other kids,” she says.
About the Scholarship
The EDF was established in 1988 to provide scholarship funding to help meet the industry’s needs for trained individuals. EDF also provides temporary assistance for dealerships and its employees affected by natural disasters. Learn more about EDF here.