Fighting Back with The Dragonator
By George Nitti
At the Wisconsin Tow Show on Father's Day weekend, Prairie Land Towing's 2008 Kenworth T800/Century 1075 caught the eye with its bold multicolored dragon enveloping the truck from front to back and top to bottom.
Although it was purchased in 2008 from Zips of New Hampton, Iowa, its graphics were recently redone just in time for the show.
Todd Menzel, who owns the company with his brother Tim and mother, Jeanne, said, "Over the last few years we have been wrapping our trucks differently. We have our own graphics company, Menzel Signs and Graphics, so we do everything in-house."
The colorful dragon on a rotator, aptly called the "Dragonator," is a departure from the company's graphics of the past when the image of a bulldog pervaded their trucks. The change is part of the company's ongoing strategy to promote its growth. Since taking over the company from their father, who started it in 1984 and passed away in 1993, the family has grown the business from two trucks to more than 100, opening up six locations, with its primary headquarters in Sun Prairie, Wis.
"I've been in a growth pattern my whole life," said Menzel, "by procuring government and city contracts and adding good employees, some of whom have been with us since the beginning. You can't build the business by yourself. People build the business by driving it in the right direction.
"You also have to be willing to change," he said. "We have iPads on all of our equipment, have been paperless since 2011, and have become more efficient and quicker."
When asked if the dragon served as a symbol, Menzel responded, "It doesn't necessarily tie-in; but you want to fight back when the industry beats you down. It's a tough business. It's one of the hardest industries to survive because it's very demanding. So maybe the dragon is a metaphor that we will fight back when cornered. Good towing companies will fight back. In the words of Doc (D.J.) Harrington: 'Tough times never last. Tough people do.' "
Regardless of the dragon's larger meanings, one thing remains firmly rooted. It's a memorial, on all of their trucks, that states: "In Loving Memory of Dad."
No doubt Dad was looking down proudly during the Father's Day weekend show.Brag @ TIW!Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!