Few people can claim one major equipment brand was named after them, but John Landis Grove had two. A prominent engineer, visionary, businessman and philanthropist, Grove died June 16 in Greencastle, Pa. He was 82 years old.

According to colleagues, Grove was responsible for popularizing telescoping cranes in North America and is called the father of the elevating work platform. "I doubt that the boom lift would exist today without him," says equipment consultant Guy Ramsey of Scottsdale, Ariz.

STARTUP Dwight and John Grove's first plant.

Grove and his brother, Dwight, started building cranes shortly after establishing Grove Manufacturing in 1946, a small farm-equipment concern, and sold the company in 1967. In 1969, Grove and associate Paul Shockey purchased Fulton Industries, later renaming it to JLG Industries, reflecting Grove's initials.

Now the largest work platform supplier globally, JLG by 2000 was reporting more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

Grove may have pioneered hydraulically complex machines, but he advocated low-tech operation. "The concept of ‘precision control' has been oversold in the industry–needlessly pushing prices higher," he wrote in 1992, one year before he retired. But he added, "Less sophistication must not be confused with less safety."

(Photos courtesy of Manitowoc Crane Group)