Earl Emerson has built EZ Spot UR from the ground up, harnessing the many years of life lessons he’s collected along the way to bring forth this successful business. EZ Spot UR is pronounced “easy spot-er.” The name is in reference to one of their attachments that enables you to “easily spot” and park using their hitch attachment. The “UR” references the birthplace of civilization, Emerson says. The city of Ur thrived in early Mesopotamia with its convenient location in the mouth of the Euphrates river, with abundant opportunities for trade and a fertile landscape.
One of the first successful tools was built out of need, just like all the future EZ Sport UR attachments.”A buddy and I built a sandbagger attachment for the skid steer to pick and dump sand out through chutes directly into the hands of sandbaggers,” explains Emerson. This equipment proved to be more efficient, and they started thinking of more opportunities for attachments that could “reduce the man in manual labor,” says Emerson. He worked for Bobcat at the time, where he was able to test and receive feedback for the Speed Bagger. Emerson continued to be inventive with integrating functional attachments to skid steers. “It’s a valuable tool (the skid steer), but most people were just digging holes with it,” and building attachments for those valuable tools has grown into a successful business. The direct uses for his attachments have proven themselves repeatedly.
Emerson talked specifically about their products showing strength and versatility for one element that impacts everyday life, an element that you are using right now… electricity! It is not uncommon for the poles carrying valuable electricity to be destroyed or fall out of place during ice storms. The Pole Setter attachment can out-maneuver many large truck alternatives to place these large poles faster and more effectively, especially in hard to reach areas. The electricity grids are also expanding globally, and EZ Spot UR has showcased its products’ value for a wide variety of projects.
EZ Spot UR’s attachments are created from client need, and they have a whole team willing to work on getting a company what it needs to be effective in what they do best. More recently, the EZ Spot UR team has worked with law-enforcement for tactical equipment and a variety of other useful attachments. “When a product’s got value, and people see that value, it will sell itself,” says Emerson. He explains that major manufacturers will not often build custom attachments, and they certainly can’t do it cost-effectively. “We have a wealth of knowledge here [Fargo area] with three collages right in our backyard, a whole wealth of people, and we have to tap into that. I have been working with an engineer from NDSU. He grew up with me in this business, learning together and now he is a valuable asset.” Earl goes on to say that he utilizes many local resources such as the North Dakota Trade Office and professors at NDSU that helped him from exporting to pricing his products for the markets. With so much talent in the FM area, he likes to give them opportunities.
As Emerson continued talking and jumping from topic to topic with ease, it was apparent that he had so much life experience behind his voice. Much of which is present in how EZ Spot UR operates, how it came to be, and what the future holds. Here are a couple of life lessons from Emerson that have brought him success over the years.
- “Treat your business like a baby.” That means that you have to be one hundred percent committed, feeding it at 2 am, keeping it clean, making sure it has all the right tools to get through the day. As you watch it grow up, you can let go, little by little, and you will see your influence. So, be sure to give it strong values, and Emerson explains.
- “I learned two things in the army. To get up and go to work and do a good job when you get there.”
- “There are opportunities out there all the time, but you have to recognize them and be brave enough to take them .”
- “Effort is key. You gotta’ put in the effort and stick with it”
When it comes to exporting, Emerson also had some learned lessons. He described a ‘rookie mistake’ he once made with his first international order. “I had my first international order – it was for 25 attachments to Africa – and I made a mistake and built them all. Then the order fell through,” he says with a chuckle. Now, EZ Spot UR exports across the globe, with many attachments going to Canada, Australia, China, India, and Japan. The company continues to see increases in sales as more rural countries connect to the power grid, and the attachments often require less capital than larger trucks that only do one job.
Keeping EZ Spot UR as a local operation is important to Emerson, having grown up in this community and tapping into the vast amount of local talent here in North Dakota. Building this company has not been a “me, me, me” type operation. Emerson explains that he lives comfortably, and he takes the responsibility to ensure that his team can provide for their families very seriously. He believes that not cutting corners, providing solid, well-built attachments with proven value will go a long way to keeping the company thriving for many years to come.
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