Where ABI Is Header – With CEO, Jim Catalano
To celebrate ABI’s new visual identity, CEO Jim Catalano goes through ABI’s history of empowering customers to get outdoor work done. Where we’ve come, where we are, and where we’re heading. There are so many new innovations in the works at ABI that we can wait to share with you.
Hi, my name is Jim Catalano and I serve as the CEO of ABI Attachments. ABI is a product innovation manufacturer and we serve niche markets such as the equestrian market, the landowner or property owner market, sports turf and golf, and the landscape contractors.
ABI was founded by Kevin Keigley, who is the son of a sod farmer. Kevin began working with his father at a very young age, and his father innovated different types of equipment and machinery for the sod farm, and that’s probably where Kevin began to understand that inventing products or improving upon existing products can really bring a lot of efficiency and value to the operation of a sod farm. And as an adult, Kevin started a hydroseeding company and very quickly realized that he needed to find more efficient ways, better ways of preparing the soil for that hydroseeding. After a time, Kevin and our other owner, Scott Holmes, began to realize that there were probably some significant market opportunities with some of the products that Kevin had invented.
Scott Holmes worked for Kevin at Hydroseed and was amazed at how quickly they could get jobs done in comparison to the other local landscape contractors. And that kind of got Scott thinking, and over time Scott actually started to talk with Kevin about ways to take that product to a more of a national market. And that’s really how the TR3 Rake got into the landscape market and ABI on our business model of working directly with the end consumer was born.
So, one day a landscape contractor that had owned one of Kevin’s inventions called the TR3 Rake was also an equestrian, also a horse owner, and he just so happened to use the landscaping tool that he purchased for his landscape industry in a horse arena and was amazed. and actually contacted us and told us or asked us, “Have you ever tried using your landscaping tool in a horse arena?” And of course, we had not so we quickly went out and went to the gentleman’s place and he showed us exactly how this product could be used in the horse industry. And that really is the beginning point of how ABI formed into a market leader in the arena drag and arena footing management space. In the landscape contracting market, Kevin was an absolute expert. He’d been in that industry his entire life starting as a child in the sod farming industry. So, when it came to this new equestrian market that we somewhat stumbled into, we needed to partner with people and we needed to learn a lot, and so that’s exactly what we did. We began to realize that there were a lot of other needs that we could serve in the marketplace, whether that be in the horse owner, in the hobby farm market, or the performance horse market, but also other markets as well.
At the end of the day, soil is soil, and if you understand the fundamentals and the principles of how soil works and soil dynamics, we can take our products and apply them in many different ways. So, today, we serve a number of different markets. Our core market, our primary market today is that equestrian market, that horse owner, but we also have additional products for people that don’t own horses, so general land owners or property owners. We also serve our original market, which is the landscape contractor, as well as a market that is growing for us as well is the sports turf market, so baseball, softball field management and even laser grading of sports surfaces.
So, I joined the company nearly 17 years ago right when we were coming into our own in the equestrian market. I started at ABI as a sales rep and within about a year I was asked to step into marketing and I actually ended up running marketing for about eight years. And that was a lot of fun, we grew a lot during those times. So, after working in marketing for eight years, I was asked to step into business operations and continuing working along with Scott and Kevin in the business in kind of a more holistic way instead of just focusing on customers and how we acquire and find customers and how we interact with them, also getting into the internal operations of the business and starting to improve systems as we were growing and scaling, that became a very important element as well. So, our owners, Kevin and Scott, approached me to say that they wanted to take a step back from the day-to-day operations of the business, and at that time they had asked me to step into the CEO role to take on the day-to-day operations of the business. And that is a very big honor for them to entrust me with their baby. This is what they’ve worked so hard for for many, many years. You know, it’s something that I take very seriously, and stepping into the CEO role obviously is a lot of responsibility. That’s what the owners needed, and so I’m here to do that. So, in the last few years we’ve really tried as a company to mature to ensure that we’re going to be around for a long time and to continue to offer value to our customers.
So, the rebrand for us is really a clarification of focus. I’m really excited about our new logo design that our marketing team came up with. It is contemporary, stylish, and I think our customers are really gonna like it. Our focus is directly in alignment with our mission, and it really is about empowering our customers with better ways to get outdoor work done. And that’s always been our focus and it will continue to be our focus into the future. We’ve continued to identify and solve needs throughout our product portfolio, whether that is arena drags, manure spreaders, water trailers, landscape breaks, or driveway graters, ball field groomers.
No matter the category that we’re offering, we’re always trying to find ways to improve those products to serve more customer needs. And it’s more than just solving customer problems, it’s really a matter of can we design a product that truly offers a better way to accomplish the job, right? Whether that’s faster, whether that is more efficient, whether the results are superior, or all of those things, that’s really been our focus and we’ve done it across our entire product portfolio no matter the market that we’re serving. So, we have a saying around here, innovation, not imitation. And that really is the core of who we are in developing engineering products that provide unique value to our customers, solving customer problems that they may not have known that they even had.
At ABI, we serve some of the most interesting and hardworking people on the planet. Our goal at ABI Attachments is to continue to deliver value to those hardworking customers. Our job is to make your job easier, and this is really what we mean by when we say we want to empower our customers with better ways to get outdoor work done.