With his unusual role change, equipment executive Brad Allen is shifting his business focus from high above to ground level. Last month, he left as vice president of marketing, product management and engineering for manufacturer Terex Corp.’s Genie brand of aerial work platforms and lifting devices used in construction and other industries, to be director of engagement for Pontis Nicaragua, a non-profit that helps poor farmers there to boost crop yields, diversity and prices through development of model farm-training centers. It is part of the non-profit Pontis Inc., founded in 2001 to provide agricultural, business and life training to the poor in rural Latin America.

“Nicaragua is the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and 60% of the rural population lives in extreme poverty, earning less than $2 per day,” says Allen, who was a 17-year Genie and Terex veteran in Redmond, Wash. Terex bought Genie Holdings Inc. for $75 million in 2002.

Allen’s work for Genie and Terex involved him in a wide variety of design, operations and marketing activities for numerous innovative lifting devices, such as the SX-180 boom lift, introduced in 2013 as the tallest of its kind in the world, with a maximum reach of 180 ft. While competitor JLG eclipsed that height a year later with the 1850SJ Ultra Boom, ENR cited the Terex machine’s “incredibly compact footprint” (ENR 11/17/2014 p. 60).

Allen says his global work at the firm has motivated him to help others worldwide. “I strongly feel that we are given resources with a responsibility—and that is primarily to other people,” he says. At Pontis Nicaragua, “we are currently moving from prototype model-farm training centers to the full program. I am currently helping develop it.”

Allen’s position will not be refilled, but his departure does not impact the company’s initiatives, says Jeremy Rife, Terex AWP vice president for engineering, manufacturing and supply chain. “Fortunately, one of Brad’s greatest contributions has been the development of outstanding teams,” says Rife.