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Our History

Specializing in Machine Moving and Engineering for Over 50 Years

Since 1960, Associated Mechanical Erectors (AME) has specialized in machine moving and engineering. We’re a third-generation family-owned business, and we’re proud to say that we’re one of the top 100 privately held companies in South Carolina.

Travel back in time with us, won’t you? Check out the timeline below, which includes info on our founding father, PM Campbell, and great pictures featuring classic cars, machinery, and haircuts. Enjoy!

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1960s

Old Machine shop – Clarence Kimbrell worked with AME for over 40 years before retiring in 2014.

Fabrication Facility

Associated Mechanical Erectors (AME) was founded in 1960 by PM Campbell, and his son Ronnie Campbell. AME opened for business in a 2000 sq ft building in Rock Hill, SC with only 5 employees focusing on Industrial Equipment Installation and General Metal Fabrication. The Company’s first job was with Celanese Corporation in Rock Hill and over the next 2 years they worked for other companies such as The South Carolina Port Authority, Uniroyal, and General Electric

Frist office and shop for AME.

Original Office 1960

1963 was the beginning of expansion and the growth for the company, starting with the purchase of their own property and a new 5,500 sq ft facility.

So in 1968 A.M.E. purchased its first hydraulic truck crane, an 18 ton Grove. Also in 1968, Frank Campbell, PM’s middle son, joined the company working in the field doing equipment installation and rigging jobs.

By 1969 A.M.E. had increased its fabrication facility to 35,000 sq ft and 2,500 sq ft of new office space. Ronnie, PM’s eldest son, had become fascinated with truck cranes and was convinced there was an opportunity to expand the company in the crane rental business. They already owned a couple of lattice boom cranes, including a 30 ton American that the company still owns today. Ronnie felt that the new hydraulic truck crane was the way to go because of the speed at which it could mobilize to and from each job.

1970s

Crane Rental Business is taking off and AME begins buying more cranes.

18ton Old Crane

PM Campbell (BEAR) starts realizing his dream of building a business that could support his family and work with his sons.  He had a vision and was a tremendous entrepreneur.

PM w Truck

Even though the United States went through some tough economic times in the 1970’s, AME continued to maintain controlled growth and expand its business. In the early 70’s, AME partnered with a company from Florida to manufacture a water filtration system. This company is still one of our most valuable and respected customers today.

Old Filtration System / Today’s Filtration System

New contract allowed AME to expand Fabrication Business.

70's Inside Fab Shop

Expands facility to 60,000 Sq ft to accommodate new Fabrication demands for new customers.

Original and expanded Facility

30 ton crane Setting a Tank in the early years.

Crane and Rigging Job 1

PM & Ronnie discussing plans for a project.

Giving Direction in Field

By 1979, AME had increased its fabrication facilities to 50,000 sq ft, opened a crane rental office and yard in Charlotte, NC, increased its crane rental fleet to a dozen cranes with capacities up to 90 tons and employed close to 200 people.

1980s

75 ton Rolling Lift – Fabricated by AME affectionately called “The Dinosaur.”

AME design lift

Four Cranes used to pick and move this machine.  Rigging and Crane Lifts continue to be our primary business.

Crane and Rigging Job

Rock Hill Yard featuring variety of trucks in AME’s fleet.

Old Truck Fleet on a Work Site

Oscar Harley operated AME’s first 50 ton crane.

Oscar on Crane 2

In the 1982, Frank Campbell took over all of the Equipment installation operations for the company, and in 1984 the company furthered its expansion by acquiring a Crane Rental Company in Greenville, S.C. and opening a branch office. PM sent his youngest son Robert and Ronnie’s oldest son Gregg to Greenville to expand the business by focusing on the same type of work as the corporate office but on a smaller scale.

10 ton crane working overtime as Crane Business continues to grow.

Old Crane

Early crane business.

Toby Hooker Cajun on Crane

In 1985, PM decided it was time to turn the business over to his boys to run on a day to day basis. Ronnie moved to President, Frank was promoted to Executive Vice President and Robert to Secretary/Treasurer. Gregg was transferred to the corporate office to begin training for his management role in the company. Frank’s focus remained in the rigging side of the business while Ronnie handled the crane and fabrication division. Robert continued to grow the Branch office in Greenville.

 

Jeff, Ronnie’s youngest son, joined the company in 1988 as a crane operator in the Charlotte branch.

1990s

Oscar Harley and Ronnie Campbell discuss where the crane business is heading.

Oscar and Ronnie 1978

 

 

The 1990’s brought a lot of change to AME. In 1990, the company relocated its corporate offices to a new facility in Fort Mill, SC. but continued its fabrication work at the Rock Hill location. Jeff transferred from Charlotte to Fort Mill to train for the position as a Project Manager in the Equipment Installation Division.

Construction Equipment Guide was excited to share AME’s new purchase of a crane that was road ready, use of joy stick operation in the cab along with the PAT system that advised the operator how heavy the load was being lifted.

Gets a New Lift Article

Ray (Joined AME in ’79) and Truck (Joined AME in ’83) Two professionals still serving customers today

Crane and Man

In 1993, the crane fleet had grown to almost 50 machines, so in 1994 the company opened a larger facility in Charlotte, NC. Also in 1993, Frank Campbell saw an opportunity to expand the company into the General Contracting market offering our customers a turn key project. In 1994, Jeff transferred back to the crane division in Charlotte as an estimator and Assistant Manager.

Early in 1997, AME sold its branch location in Greenville to PM’s youngest son Robert where he established his own Crane Rental Company.

In August 1997, PM Campbell passed away leaving his legacy in the hand of his sons.

PM Campbell (BEAR) made his mark on this industry and built AME into a business that his family continues to grow.  His legacy is still alive today.

PM President

In 1998, Ronnie Campbell took his father’s place as Chairman of the Board and Promoted Frank Campbell to President. Gregg Campbell was promoted to Executive Vice President and Jeff Campbell was moved to Vice President in charge of all equipment. Also in 1998, to expand its General Contracting business, AME acquired Christman and Parsons, Inc. in Spartanburg, SC, a highly reputable Commercial Contractor in business for more than 40 years.

Gregg, Ronnie, Frank

Frank Campbell becomes AME, Inc.’s President.

Frank President

2000

The new millennium brought more changes to AME. 2000 was a record year for the company, exceeding $25M+ in sales and moving the company into the top 100 privately held companies in South Carolina. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, AME, like a lot of companies in their line of work, saw a major decrease in work load.

AME Family Affair gathered for 40th Anniversary Celebration.

Gregg, Robert, Frank, Ronnie, Jeff

In 2003, Frank Campbell turned over the daily operations to Gregg Campbell, promoting him to President and Jeff Campbell to Executive VP. He moved to CEO to take a more hands off approach for the company. The company had to evolve to a new way of doing business in a very competitive market. Gregg replaced some of the top operation staff with new members, bringing with them fresh ideas and a positive outlook. This new group of management personnel has proven to be one of the best things to happen to this company in some time.

In 2007, Gregg and Jeff Campbell reached an agreement with Frank Campbell to buy all of his corporate stock and retain his services as an adviser when needed. “He has years of experience in this business and I will continue to rely on his knowledge as much as possible,” Gregg said.

In 2008, Ronnie Campbell (known throughout the industry as “The Crane Man”) passed away leaving his legacy, as his father did, in the hands of his sons.

Ronnie “Crane Man” and Jeff exploring new equipment at CON-EXPO

Jeff and Ronnie

2009 was another year of growth for the company. AME purchased an 110,000 sq ft manufacturing facility and 85 acres in Chester, SC. “We plan to move our Fabrication Division from Rock Hill to the new location in Chester sometime in early 2011. We will demolish our buildings in Rock Hill to make the way for more suitable development. Tearing down those buildings will be an emotional event for Jeff and me,” Gregg said. “There are a lot of memories in those buildings. We grew up there, working and just hanging out with family and friends.”

As tradition would have it, AME is still 100% family owned by Gregg Campbell, President/CEO and Jeff Campbell, Executive VP as they control all outstanding shares of AME Incorporated. The Corporation is poised and ready to continue to grow through its success in the Industrial Contracting Industry.

Chester Facility Opens and all Fabrication moves into this 110,000sqft building.

IMG_1172

2010

50 Year Anniversary for AME.

50 Year Anniversary sign 

50 Year Anniversary celebrated by local newspaper

50 Year Article

SC&RA Longetivity Award for being members 35 Years

DSC_0114

18th Annual Customer Appreciation Golf Outing featuring our Spider Mini Crane

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2015

On March 14, 2015, former president and owner of AME, Frankie Campbell passed away. Frankie was loved by everyone at AME and a respected member of the community. He will be greatly missed.

 

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