A heavy-equipment company throws its weight behind breast-cancer fundraising
Mike Phillips and Karen Barton are raising awareness for breast cancer in a big way. Big as in forty tons of hulking metal, slathered in Pepto-pink paint and emblazoned with “Proud Sponsor of the National Breast Cancer Foundation.” Ever since Phillips’s and Barton’s father, Richard Phillips, founded Phoenix Crane Rental in 1983 with the assistance of Ernie Baer and Bill Dickerson, the Mableton-based company has clung to its family-oriented roots. So when the Phillips clan sought to expand Phoenix’s annual charitable contributions to encompass a more concrete cause, the equally family-focused NBCF seemed like a natural collaboration.
Phoenix donates a percentage of the $160/hour rental rate of its pink Terex crane to NBCF, which provides early-detection screening and mammograms to low-income women. The pink crane (it was the senior Phillips’s idea to paint the behemoth) is lighter and more agile than other models, enabling the company to easily integrate the machine into the fleet that serves hourly customers. And those customers have called up specifically to request the crane since its maiden voyage back in May.
The response has been so enthusiastic, Jessica Ives, operator of the colorful colossus, often has her picture snapped by curious bystanders while she waits at stoplights. Although October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the pink crane operates year-round, attracting plenty of attention.
“You just don’t see many pink cranes riding around town,” says Jeff Moon, an account manager at United Maintenance, which has used Phoenix’s cranes for more than twenty years. “If we can use a crane for our jobs and part of the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Foundation, then it’s a win-win.”
Photograph by David Cannon