Land of Opportunity
Karl Davies and his British family find success
across the pond with InterQuip USA
It’s been said that effective business methods transcend borders and oceans, but Karl Davies isn’t entirely sure about that.
A Brit who moved to Connecticut in 2012 to run the conveyor system company, InterQuip USA LLC, Davies says that Americans’ relaxed way of doing business gives them a slight advantage over their U.K. counterparts.
“In England, there are so many people in such a small, compact country that everybody’s trying to fight each other to make a living, and the blood pressure goes up a bit,” says Davies. “An English businessman can come across as very cut and dried, but Americans succeed with a very relaxed attitude. They’re a lot friendlier and better at building up your confidence.”
Not that Davies needs a confidence boost. As owner of the thriving InterQuip, he’s carrying on a successful family legacy that dates back to the early 1900s in Bristol, England, where his grandfather and his father worked in construction.
Karl’s dad, Roger Davies, founded the refueling equipment company Western Global in 1962 and launched Beaufort Conveyors in 1988. Roger moved to the U.S. 10 years ago, founded the Norwalk, Conn.-based InterQuip in 2012, and handed over control of the company to Karl when he retired.
Running a Tight Ship
“My father taught me that when things get tight, keep a tight ship,” Karl recalls. “He taught me to grow steady: Never stop growing, but don’t overgrow.”
And that’s exactly what Karl has tried to do at InterQuip. As a distributor of EASIKIT modular belt conveyors and LINKIT portable conveyers, InterQuip has moved steadily into the North American construction and recycling industry. The company specializes in “hidden, tight access sites” inside buildings and basements, Karl says. In addition, InterQuip supplements conveyors with its KOMPLET line of compact crushing and screening equipment.
“There’s a lot of potential in America, especially in recycling,” says Karl. “In the U.K., there’s already a lot of recycling because there are more regulations. I think as more regulations come to the U.S., recycling will be a growing market.”
A Change of Weather
Another difference between the U.S. and the U.K. is the amount of climate-related planning needed in construction. Compared to the mild climate of Great Britain, “weather conditions can be extreme here and you have to allow for that in your forecasting,” says Karl. “In the height of summer in England, you can work all day long outside, but the summers are a lot hotter here. You’ve got to be careful working outside in the heat.”
While InterQuip has grown steadily since 2012, Karl has had to overcome obstacles—especially early on. “When you’re coming from the U.K. and starting a new business in America, your credit rating is at zero for two to three years. You’re limited as to how fast you can grow,” he says.
But the company has found ways to gradually build its reputation and grow its business. For example, InterQuip takes pride in its ability to get equipment to a site quickly.
“One of the keys to our success is we turn orders around within 24 to 48 hours,” Karl says. “If someone wants it today, they can have it today—within reason, of course.”
Family is Everything
Karl, 48, works closely at InterQuip with his two sons, Jason (23) and Joshua (21). Jason coordinates equipment rentals and Joshua manages daily office operations and assists with sales and technical support.
Jason says his family has taught him to think big.
“Both my father and my grandfather are very passionate about the industry,” he says. “They’ve got a lot of experience, and they also have great vision. From day one, they could see large potential in the conveyor, crushing and screening industries. “
“They’re very optimistic,” Jason adds. “They always see beyond any immediate problems. They never give up.”
Jason and Joshua were teenagers when the Davies family moved from the U.K. to Connecticut. But as tumultuous as moving 3,000 miles can be for anyone—especially an adolescent—Jason says he and his brother have adapted just fine to America.
A New Country and New Horizons
“It’s a very different culture, but you have a vast amount of things to do in the U.S.,” shares Jason, reeling off a list of outdoor activities he and his “competitive” family members engage in, including snowboarding and skiing (in “proper snow,” he notes), bicycling, boating, kite-surfing, and Jet Skiing.
“We lived on the coastline in Wales, but there, you never seemed to have the perfect weather; here, you seem to have it every Saturday,” says Jason. “The weather over here is very, very nice.”
Whether they’re frolicking on the water or figuring out new ways to expand InterQuip, the Davies clan always keeps its family ties strong.
“We’re a very close family, always have been, always will be. It makes running a business easier when you can work and brainstorm together and mentor each other and energize each other,” Jason says.
“We all have the drive and the passion for excelling and trying to get to that next step in business,” he says. “With the market booming in America, there’s tremendous potential here, and we’re just touching the fringe of it.”