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Noteworthy in Sweeping

Jerry Gannon Celebrates 50 Years in Sweeping Industry

by Brendan Campos with Ranger Kidwell-Ross, Editor
November 2023

NortheastLogo150Thanksgiving 2023 marks a very special milestone for Jerry Gannon, a sales representative for US RAVO dealer, Northeast Sweepers & Rentals (NSR). Jerry has been involved with that company for nine years of selling the RAVO 5 iSeries street sweepers in the metropolitan region of New York. However, his anniversary in the sweeping industry is approaching 50 years.

Here's how that occurred and some of the many changes Gannon has seen in his sweeping-oriented business life.

GannonHeadShot150 After receiving his MBA, Jerry was ready to start a career in sales. Just a few days before Thanksgiving of 1973, he received a phone call to interview for an English street sweeping company called Ecoletic. Back in the 1970s Ecoletic, no longer in business, sold mostly Johnston Street Sweepers. Company management offered an entry level position to Jerry.

Even though Jerry had a lack of experience in municipal equipment he decided to take the job. He said he was determined to do the training and work it would take to become an influential industry sales representative. Jerry's success at a job that he found came easily to him led becoming the branch's sales manager in less than three years. This promotion spurred him to increased involvement in the city and its boroughs.

NSR management says Gannon has been an incredible and productive sales representative for them and that "Jerry's hard work, attitude, and success has left a mark in this metro region." In November, the company is recognizing Gannon's outstanding contribution and dedication to the company, the industry and, above all, the community in which he provides solutions.

Major industry changes or trends over the past 50 years

"Over the years," Jerry told us, "[the type of] Street sweeper dealerships have changed as well as there has been an evolution in street sweeper technology. Before, there were a lot of construction companies with street sweepers that sold to the sub-contractors that would sweep the city's streets. However, that trend has changed to dealerships selling primarily directly to municipalities."

Another major change mentioned was the introduction and popularity of regenerative air as well as vacuum sweepers like the RAVO 5. Jerry pointed out that when he started in the industry, mechanical broom sweepers owned the marketplace for street sweeping solutions and that regenerative air and vacuum sweepers were just getting introduced. Throughout the years he has seen the growth in demand for air sweepers due to their dominance in efficiency, versatility, and overall customer and community satisfaction.

Memorable and/or significant experiences during Jerry's career

"Traveling the world and meeting different people of the world are my most memorable experience in the industry," said Jerry. "Since there are manufacturers of street sweepers that come from places in Europe, I have had the opportunity to meet executives and representatives in different countries, as well as from different countries. I've also enjoyed meeting customers and prospects from different parts of the US.

Gannon's most important lessons from his 50-year career in this industry

"Promote your product and don't bad mouth the competition. Always have an attitude to demonstrate, and be sure to brush up on your product knowledge. It's also good to research your prospects, so you know their needs, and to get know your customers well."

How have you seen technology and innovation have impacted the industry?

Gannon is clear that he believes the power sweeping industry is constantly improving and changing for the betterment of society. "Sweepers, especially the RAVO brand, are becoming more versatile than ever before, making sweepers the most effective piece of equipment for the department of public works around the globe.

"Sweeper manufacturers are coming out with options to better manage floodwater/stormwater maintenance as well as general maintenance with [newer innovations like] a porous pavement cleaner, catch basin wanderhose, flexible broom system attachments, etc.

Additionally, the introduction to fully electric alternatives for street sweepers is definitely raising discussion in the industry. I'm glad that municipalities, as well as manufacturers, are taking the steps toward a greener and more sustainable future for the environment. We provide environmental solutions; what better way to do that than to find [and offer] alternatives that are more environmentally friendly?"

What industry future, potential changes or challenges do you foresee?

Gannon believes regenerative air and vacuum sweeper models will soon become the leaders of the US marketspace over mechanical broom sweepers. "When you look at cities in Europe, it's completely different: vacuum sweepers are dominating that marketplace and the people are happy. There is a reason why cities in Europe are the cleanest in the world and that is because they are equipped with the right tools to achieve the goals of clean streets.

"Unfortunately, the US is behind in this regard in comparison to the rest of the world, [even though falling behind] is a position that our country strives to stay away from. The RAVO brand from the Netherlands I believe offers municipalities across the country an opportunity to keep up. I've seen how the world is constantly evolving, changing and moving forward toward better solutions that will improve the environment and quality of life for the people.

What motivates you to continue your involvement and commitment to the industry even after decades?

Jerry says he'll stay in the industry as long as he is still motivated by promoting and selling street sweepers to municipalities in and around New York City. He enjoys the satisfaction in closing big deals and being involved in what he sees as the advancement of public works and improvements in the communities around him.

Over time, what have been your biggest challenges – and how did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges Gannon says he's faced over the years is trying to sell to prospects who refuse change. They are the people who are set on using the same mechanical sweeper any time their current fleet goes down and they need a replacement.

"These executives often do not realize there are better, more efficient products like vacuum sweepers available. Executives are told or retold that the old technology is fine, that it will continue to work for them, and then they aren't willing to take a serious look at a machine that can actually save them money and improve their operation." Jerry has been utilizing modern marketing strategies along with attending the right events in order to successfully get in front of those executives to overcome that challenge.

When we heard Jerry Gannon was celebrating a 50-year career in the sweeping industry, we thought that deserved an article. Please let us know if you know of something or someone who should be included in this, or any section, of the website.

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