Category Archive: Industry News

From Lygra to America: A Journey for the Pursuit of Happiness

Oddvar Norheim Next to a Duobox Crane


On the anniversary of our nation’s independence, we are reminded of the framework that makes our nation stand out among the many great nations of the world, particularly the rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Even though we have waivered as a nation throughout the years, the heroes of this land fight to make sure that freedom is felt from sea to shining sea. Therefore, we have been a beacon to the world, “This is where you can make a name for yourself, the land of opportunity where anything is possible,” Lady Liberty says as she gazes upon glistening skyscrapers that stand as testaments to the heights one can reach if they dream big.

Oddvar Norheim was one of those dreamers, born on a small island off the coast of Bergen Norway called Lygra. After receiving his bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering, from Bergan Technical College, in Norway, and serving in the Norwegian NATO army, Oddvar sought to travel to the United States where he built our company, American Crane & Equipment Corporation. He created several patents, such as SafLift™ (a process used to transport nuclear fuel). He fostered a friendly and collaborative environment within his company, where no idea was out of the question and the impossible seemed possible; and in 2010, he visited the White House, to discuss trade policy alongside government officials and President Obama. 

When Oddvar became a U.S. citizen, on May 6, 1987, he was given the opportunity to present a speech to the recipients about why he decided to become an American citizen:

 “I believe that America is the country that gives the most opportunities to its people and that the American dream is still achievable. The traditional spirit of the U.S. society that describes the nation as a democratic land of opportunity in which social, political, economic, and religious freedoms prevail—is alive and well; one man is as good as another and any man can achieve his dreams, if only he will. America took on a difficult task after the second world war when it became the nation to protect the freedoms of the world. Of course, this has given many countries and individuals the opportunity to blame America for everything that is wrong, but the strength and determination of this society continues the fight to achieve peace and freedom—showing the kind of people this country is made up of and the strength of our Constitution and the values we so strongly believe in. The willingness of this country to defend freedom around the world is something we all should be proud of. The beauty of this country is no better described then through the words of Samuel A. Ward when he wrote “America the Beautiful” – spacious skies, majestic mountains, and amber waves of grain. America surely does have it all. And we cannot forget the bountiful American highways and king size American cars. It’s hard to find words to express my feelings today as I become part of this grand society, and there is not one factor that made me decide to become a U.S. citizen, but all the things mentioned above and more.”     

Oddvar saw hope in the aspects of America we often take for granted, and in that hope, he achieved his dreams and was able to forge a legacy grand enough to influence the lives of many and present a future for his kin, before passing in October of 2021. Oddvar saw and came to represent the true essence of what it means to be an American; the idea that no matter where you are from, your beliefs, or background—if you are willing to work hard and out of love, not hate, you can elevate your life and the lives of those around you. That’s why here at ACECO we honor Oddvar’s GRIT and determination every day, committing to foster the growth, empowerment, and safety of the people we work with and the customers that hire us.

At ACECO we value our people and everything they have to contribute; so, on this 4th of July, we ask that you remember to value the people of this nation, because without our differences and melting pot of ideas…America would not be the great nation it is today. 

Bringing GRIT to MHI’s Board of Governors

Just a couple of months ago, in December 2021, I was honored to be named to the MHI Board of Governors. Established in 1945, MHI is an international trade association that has represented the material handling, logistics, and supply chain industry for more than 75 years. The organization offers education, standards development, networking, and solution sourcing for its members, their customers, and the industry through programming and events — including the MODEX and ProMat tradeshows.

Leading MHI is its appointed Board of Governors. This group consists of the Officers and Board Governors of MHI plus the Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel of the corporation. The Board of Governors serves as the Board of Directors for MHI.

In American Crane’s 50 years of operation, participation in MHI has always been important to our company. As a forward-thinking, innovative company, taking leadership within the material handling field as a whole has been part of our organization’s vision from the beginning.

I was particularly honored to discover that I am only the second woman to ever have been appointed to MHI’s Board of Governors. It’s no secret that the material handling field — like many industries — has long been dominated by men. As a woman who grew up in this industry, I feel that increasing diversity among all levels is critically important to its continued success. For that reason, I was delighted to join MHI’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee when it was first formed a year ago.

Creating inclusive and diverse workplaces brings different perspectives together on the same team. That variety of viewpoints and experiences allows companies — and industries — to solve problems more effectively. It’s a perspective we embrace fully at American Crane. It’s been a delight to share our company’s vision with other MHI members as they work to create an environment that fosters the appreciation of all employees’ creative diversity through trust, respect, and openness.

Further, American Crane has proudly served as a long-standing Executive Member of Crane Manufacturer’s Association of America (CMAA). An independent trade association that is affiliated with MHI, CMAA’s vision is to be the most trusted knowledge resource for overhead cranes. It works to achieve that objective through its mission: to deliver technical specifications and resources that promote safety in the design, operation, and maintenance of overhead cranes. CMAA’s engineering specifications are widely recognized as the preferred design standard for overhead traveling cranes, integrated crane systems, and crane components.

My father, Oddvar Norheim — American Crane’s past President and CEO — believed strongly in MHI, and in CMAA’s mission in particular. Not only did he serve a term as CMAA’s President, but he also assisted in the development of those recommended standards and specifications by dedicating several of American Crane’s own engineers to help in their development. Today, that tradition continues as I, too, have been heavily involved in CMAA since I joined American Crane two decades ago. Currently, I serve as CMAA’s President.

My involvement in these industry groups was among the reasons MHI CEO John Paxton cited when announcing my new Board of Governors role. He writes:

Karen provides clear, direct, and results-focused leadership of the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA). She brings her leadership experience as the President and CEO of American Crane and applies that to raise the Overhead Crane industry for all members. Based on her success leading CMAA, Karen was recently elected to the MHI Board of Governors’ where she provides those same leadership skills into the MHI strategic planning process.

In addition, she is a member of the MHI Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee. I really enjoy working with Karen. She is a collaborative leader who is direct, to the point, and has a passion for delivering results. Her company mantra is “GRIT Matters,” and she brings that GRIT to the MHI Board. We really appreciate her time as a volunteer supporting several MHI initiatives.

I look forward to continuing to give back to the industry while helping to chart its course for the future as a member of the MHI Board of Governors.


What is the Crane Manufacturing Association of America?

An affiliation of the Material Handling Industry (MHI), the Crane Manufacturing Association of America (CMAA) is an independent trade organization that advocates for optimal crane safety and serves as a resource for all types of professionals within the industry. Facilitating various industry events and educational opportunities, CMAA has also established engineering specifications that are recognized as the preferred design standards for overhead traveling cranes and integrated crane systems, as well as crane components.

CMAA LogoAmerican Crane is proud to be a member of this organization, and at this year’s CMAA event, our team got the chance to discuss important industry standards with fellow crane experts.

CMAA’s History and Mission

CMAA evolved from the Electric Overhead Crane Institute (EOCI), founded in 1927 by leading crane manufacturers aiming to advance crane standardization, uniform quality, and higher levels of performance. In 1955, EOCI was incorporated as the Crane Manufacturers Association of America, Inc.

Working to deliver exceptional value to channel partners, end users, industry associates, and members alike, CMAA is focused on the following goals and services:

  • Market intelligence
  • Safety advocacy
  • Providing valuable educational materials
  • Engineering specifications and standards development
  • Members’ professional development
  • Recruiting and developing active, representative membership
  • Promotion and enhancement of CMAA brand

To achieve these goals, CMAA members aim to:

  • Supply safe, efficient products and services
  • Deliver superior value
  • Develop experienced, knowledgeable channel partners
  • Offer high-value, versatile solutions
  • Create an environment in which customers can confidently purchase equipment and achieve optimal value

CMAA has also created a comprehensive Buyer’s Guide to assist procurement professionals in the selection of material handling equipment. A range of factors, detailed in the guide, should be considered during the selection process, including:

  • The service the system will be used for
  • The frequency of its use
  • The speed of the system necessary to match parameters and process
  • The budget of the buyerCMAA Buyer’s Guide

Learn More

For help in choosing the proper crane equipment for your application, and to learn more about important factors to keep in mind during the selection process, download CMAA Buyer’s Guide today.

What’s So Cool About Manufacturing in Chester County

Chester County hosted its annual award ceremony for Dream It Do It Pa’s, “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” video contest at Penn State Great Valley. The contest was sponsored by the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester & Delaware Counties and the Chester County Economic Development County Community. American Crane & Equipment Corporation was thrilled to be able to attend the awards ceremony for Chester County’s contest and our Executive Vice President, Karen Norheim participated as a judge.

We were excited to have the opportunity to be included in the award ceremony, showcasing American Crane & Equipment Corporation to students, teachers, parents and other local manufacturers.American Crane VR at Chester County Event

The, What So Cool About Manufacturing video contest has been a huge success, and has become extremely popular since it was started.  The video contest promotes the importance of STEM and explores the manufacturing industry, showing students how cool manufacturing really is!

We often associate manufacturing with greasy factories, smoke stacks, and steam engines. It is important to spread the word about how fun and exciting the manufacturing industry can be. By participating in projects such as this one, we are truly able to inspire others and share our passion for manufacturing. Involving students in manufacturing can expose them to an industry which they may normally overlook, and hopefully, inspire them to join the manufacturing industry in the future.

All of the videos entered in the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” video contest hosted by Dream It Do It were wonderful. Each of the students did a fantastic job! We had a great time participating in this contest and we look forward to getting involved again next year.  To check out the videos and learn more about the contests, visit:

Dream It Do It: What’s So Cool About Manufacturing Award Ceremony

We are so proud to have had the opportunity to be a part of “Dream It Do It: What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” video contest.  Last week, Dream It Do It had their annual video contest award ceremony for Berks County and we were thrilled to be there to witness it!

The contest was a huge success, recognized nationally and across the entire state of Pennsylvania.  The objective of the video contest was to promote STEM and the manufacturing industry disproving the myth that manufacturing isn’t cool!

In today’s world, oftentimes when we discuss manufacturing, our thoughts are immediately drawn to greasy factories, smoke stacks, and steam engines. It is important to remind the future generations of how exciting the manufacturing industry can be.

We hope to inspire others to be as passionate about manufacturing careers as we are.  It is projected, that over the next few years the manufacturing industry will have over 2 million open positions.  The manufacturing industry is one of the most important industries in our society.  We need to get more people involved and to fill those jobs and future ones!

The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” video contest gave kids the chance to explore the world of manufacturing first-hand. Student teams were assigned to different manufacturers in their local areas.

Once the groups were assigned to a manufacturing company, they arranged an appropriate time to tour the facility with a GoPro and other camera equipment.  During their days at the manufacturing facilities, the students used the equipment to record video footage that would express why they thought manufacturing was cool.

The students had the opportunity to edit their footage in creative ways that would get the message across.  Once the project was completed, the videos were made public and entered in a contest which voters could access and vote on their favorite videos.

American Crane & Equipment Corporation was assigned to a group of six female students from the Daniel Boone Middle School.  We had a great time hosting the students and showing them around our facility.

The students were able to see, step-by-step, the process of what it takes to manufacture one of our cranes.  They also had the chance to operate our cranes with the supervision of our maintenance manager.

There will be several other “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” video contests hosted by Dream It Do It as we make our way through the spring.  To check out the videos and learn more about the contests, visit:

Material Research Institute

I recently had the pleasure of touring the Penn State Material Research Institute (MRI) at the Millennium Science Complex, University Park, Pa.  As a proud Penn State alumni, I always love returning to campus and learning about different areas of this incredible university.

The state-of-the-art community research conducted in the Material Research Institute (MRI) allows for brilliant ideas to be born and brought to life.  MRI is a catalyst for multidisciplinary education and innovations in materials.

Material Research Institute

One of the things that stood out to me was MRI’s set up utilizing collective expertise.  MRI combines 5 colleges and 15 different departments.  That’s 200 faculty, plus 100 researchers and 800 plus graduate students.

It is important to have different perspectives when solving problems.  Penn State has taken this to a whole new level by converging varying backgrounds and experiences to create a multifaceted organization that engages in crosscutting research.

They are helping to solve the most complex problems facing society today and in the future. Better yet they are not stopping in Academia, but reaching out to create partnerships with industry, which allows business to leverage their labs for competitive advantage.

There are many opportunities for industry at the Material Research Institute (MRI), from startups and entrepreneurs, to established businesses.

This facility saves companies the expense of maintaining their own state of the art equipment.  It provides access to highly skilled technical staff, which can help users come up with solutions during their process.  Not only can companies save money on capital and operational expenditures, but they can also save valuable time.

Another way that industry can benefit at the Material Research Institute (MRI), is through Penn State’s “first of its kind” Industry Friendly IP Policy.

This simple and flexible program allows companies to retain ownership of the intellectual property they sponsor.

The institute links with over 400 different companies each year. This collaboration has resulted in numerous inventions, patents and startup companies.  

MRI is broken down into a four lab solutions; the Material Characterization Lab, the Nano Fabrication Lab, the Materials Computation Center, and the 2D Crystal Consortium Center.

  • The Material Characterization Lab provides a wide variety of characterization techniques in the areas of Microscopy, Spectroscopy, and Macroscopic. These techniques help to increase the understanding of why materials show different properties and behaviors.
  • The Nanofabrication Lab offers world-class capabilities in areas of deposition, etch, lithography, material modification, and characterization. More than 65 materials can be deposited and over 70 materials can be dry etched.  This lab has the ability to develop and fabricate a wide array of novel devices and can handle non-standard materials alongside the more common materials.
  • The Materials Computation Center supports faculty and industry, by working in computer-based simulations of materials, across variety lengths and time scales.
  • The 2D Crystal Consortium (2DCC) creates materials that are only one atomic layer thick, a new field of nanoscience and engineering. The 2D materials have totally different properties than their bulky counterparts.  This allows them to be stacked which results in new amazing properties.  Combine this with collaborative research and the sky is the limit!

From the medical industry to the food industry, the Material Research Institute (MRI) is having an impact.  One patented invention born at MRI is the Bioabsorbable Foam for Wound Care and Tissue Engineering.

The material conforms to irregular wound shapes to stop bleeding. It then transitions to a porous gel, protecting newly formed tissue.  Another innovative discovery is the Metasurface Wearable Antenna.

The antenna is used for monitoring the body.  AvoColor, a natural food coloring substance was discovered at MRI.  Derived from avocados, this is a natural and healthier solution to traditional food coloring and holds great potential in the food industry.

Currently, researchers are developing a thermoelectric energy harvester. This device will require no heat sink and will produce enough power to run wireless sensors.  These are just a few examples of the exciting innovation born at MRI.

It is no surprise that Penn State would develop such an innovative resource for students, faculty, and industry members.

This is the same university that became the first to “see an atom,” the first to discover planets outside of our solar system and the first to introduce an established baccalaureate degree program in industrial engineering.

It was a great honor to explore the Material Research Institute (MRI) and learn about the many works that they perform there.

This upcoming October 17th and 18th, you and friends will be able to experience Penn State’s Material Research Institute for yourself during the official 2017 Materials Day: Hot Topics In Material.  Find out more information about the event at:

Learn more about the Penn State Material Research Institute at: and see how it can help you bring your own ideas to life.

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Why You Should Support Local STEM Education Programs

Revitalizing Manufacturing in America

Here at American Crane & Equipment Corporation, our company’s culture is rooted in supporting STEM education — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — for local students. We believe that increasing diversity and representation in these fields will not only help revitalize manufacturing’s outdated reputation but also allow the industry to evolve and prosper.

As part of our ongoing efforts to promote STEM education, we participate annually in Manufacturing Day (the first Friday of every October), offering tours of our facility for local students, educating people about the many exciting careers available in the field, and celebrating manufacturing in America. As a U.S.-based manufacturer, we’re proud to be a part of such a dynamic, innovative industry.

Our Executive Vice President of American Crane, Karen Norheim, is especially passionate about sharing her industry knowledge with students. As an alumnus of Penn State and a member of its Professional Advisory Committee Board, Karen often participates in university events, serving as a mentor for students interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing.

MorningStar Solar Home: A Project in Sustainability

A Project in SustainabilityThrough Karen’s close relationship with Penn State, members of the American Crane team recently toured the school’s lauded MorningStar solar home as part of our efforts to support local organizations that promote innovation and engineering solutions for social good.

The MorningStar solar home was built by more than 800 students for the 2007 Solar Decathlon competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The solar home won fourth place among 20 universities competing internationally. Since then, the student-driven project has propelled the school to invest more resources in classes on sustainability and solar power.

Considered a “net-zero home,” MorningStar creates just as much, if not more, energy than it consumes. It’s completely powered by renewable energy, employing an adjustable photovoltaic (PV) array, a dedicated DC/LED lighting power system to eliminate conversion losses, and a ground-source heat pump and radiant floor and shower wall system for efficient temperature control.Morning Star Solar Home

In addition to these energy-efficient features, the structure of MorningStar is made from locally sourced natural resources, including Pennsylvania black slate, Pennsylvania bluestone, Pennsylvania recycled steel, native hardwoods. Many of them are from dead elm trees found on Penn State’s campus and a wall of glass milk bottles, which are filled with water during the day and stored on shelves in front of the windows to help absorb the sun’s heat. Not only are all of these materials environmentally friendly, they’re also celebratory of Pennsylvania’s local industries, forests, and craftspeople.

After earning fourth place at the Solar Decathlon, the MorningStar solar home received a $560K grant from the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association to finance its relocation from Washington, D.C. to Penn State’s campus to serve as a teaching space. The solar home now resides at The University’s Center for Sustainability, where it serves as a renewable energy research lab for both students and the community.

Learn More

The American Crane & Equipment Corporation (ACECO) team was truly inspired by our recent visit to the MorningStar solar home. This was a perfect example of the many opportunities for STEM mentorship and education. Projects like these not only benefit the people directly involved, who gain valuable networking skills and career opportunities, but also the community, industry, and economy overall.

To learn more about our community initiatives that support STEM and diversity in the manufacturing space, visit our YouTube channel, where you can find a Manufacturing Day plant tour and videos on choosing a career in manufacturing.

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Calling All Women in Manufacturing
American Crane Partners with WiM to Support Leadership and Education

Led by our Executive Vice President (and woman in manufacturing!), Karen Norheim, the American Crane Team is proud to support the 2016 Women in Manufacturing (WiM) Summit in Nashville, TN. The summit will take place on September 19 through September 21st at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel.

A national association dedicated to supporting, promoting, and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry, WiM represents more than 500 members offering engaging perspectives from construction, aerospace, high technology, metals, life sciences, oil and gas, automotive, and more from across the country.WiM to Support Leadership

The network offers both regional and national programming, professional development webinars, and collaborative events such as the GE Women’s Leadership Lab. As part of the host committee for September’s Summit, our team is proud to support a full agenda of plant tours, workshops, seminars, speaker events, and panels dedicated to the future of women in the industry. Just a few of the event’s highlights include:

  • Tours of General Motors Spring Hill, the Tennessee Bun Company, Lochinvar, Bridgestone LaVergne, and the Nissan Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant
  • Opening Remarks from U.S. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn
  • Speaker events highlighting additive manufacturing, women in STEM, and manufacturing and entrepreneurship
  • Minute Mentoring workshops and networking
  • In-depth industry roundtables
  • An Importance of Leadership Development panel and the 2016 Leadership Lab for Women in Manufacturing graduate panel

We couldn’t be happier to join professionals at NTMA, Interlake Industries, UPS, and the entire WiM network in helping to create an event stacked with professional resources, cutting-edge information, and skill-building for our industry peers. At American Crane, we strongly believe that programs from WiM, STEM education, and national events like MFG Day are essential both to the success of our company and the future of manufacturing.

In the words of our own Executive Vice President, “Manufacturers need to have diversity in order to have a competitive edge.” Karen’s personal support as an ambassador for women in technical careers has been highlighted at panels for past WiM Summits, National Manufacturing Day, Nuclear Science Week, and countless others.

She joins a full host of executives, managers, students, operational professionals, and service providers in the WiM network to offer opportunities for women nationwide, year-round. The whole American Crane Team joins Karen in believing that mentoring — and supporting diversity — is part of our job, and our future as a company.

Learn more about the American Crane commitment to service and quality by downloading our crane buyer’s guide, or contact the team at Women in Manufacturing to get involved with programming, events, and mentoring in your area.

Choose the Right Crane

Manufacturing Day at American Crane

Berks County Celebrates Manufacturing on October 3rd

We couldn’t be more excited to join the Greater Reading Economic Partnership on October 3, 2015, to celebrate MFG Day. The nationwide event is designed to bring awareness to manufacturing training and careers. We’re thrilled to join the Berks Manufacturing Community for a day of great events.
MFG Day Logo

Students and guests will begin their morning at Reading Area Community College and the Schmidt Training and Technology Center. At Schmidt, guests will have the opportunity to meet representatives from different companies to talk about their unique facilities and the careers they offer before — or instead of — taking tours.

Tours are a pre-registered event. Remember that if you’d like to tour American Crane or any other Berks manufacturers, registration for the Berks Manufacturing Day is required.

We will be open for facility tours between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Guests will be able to see our in-house processes and six manufacturing bays firsthand. They will experience machining, material preparation, electrical assembly, welding, and more, in addition to a full tour at Brentwood’s facility.

Please wear closed shoes during the tour. Individuals 17 years old and under must have adult supervision. Additionally, all registrants are invited to bring up to 4 guests to the tour.

Last year, we were fortunate to host 35 Exeter High School students for MFG Day as part of a new STEM initiative. In addition to a tour and information session about cranes, the students were able to ask questions about different types of careers — electricians, machinists, mechanics, fitters, and designers, to start. Additionally, we covered the various types of engineers on our team: mechanical, electrical, structural and welding.

Participants involved in the Berks County Manufacturing Day event include:

  • American Crane and Equipment Corporation
  • Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
  • Brentwood Industries
  • Cambridge-Lee Industries
  • Carpenter
  • East Penn Manufacturing
  • Reading Plastic Fabricators
  • Remcon Plastics
  • And many more!

We strongly believe that programs like MFG Day and STEM Education are essential to the future of manufacturing. Our industry depends upon inspiring and educating young people, and we want to give them every opportunity to learn.

Though American Crane has participated in the national event before, we are proud to join with local educators, economic partners, and manufacturers for the first-ever dedicated Berks Manufacturing Day. Having over 20 facilities involved in the program is inspiring for both students and the community overall, and offers plenty of unique opportunities for tours and career exploration.

 We are committed to mentoring aspiring engineers because we believe that it is part of our job and our future as a company and a community. Find out more about our facility tours and register for the 2015 Berks Manufacturing Day by clicking here. We look forward to meeting you on October 3rd.Manufacturing Day Post Card_eletronic

What Are You Celebrating This October?

October is a month full of awareness campaigns and holidays – some more widely recognized than others. We’ve become accustomed to seeing football players don bright pink shoes and gloves in support of breast cancer awareness; we look forward to seeing what crazy costumes people can come up with for Halloween; and for the perennially stressed, there’s even Moment of Frustration Day to let out all of that pent up energy (not that this is ever an issue in our office).

But here at American Crane, we feel it’s important to celebrate and promote some additional holidays that particularly matter to those of us in the industrial space. In October, for example, we celebrated Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 3rd, and we’re also pleased to celebrate Nuclear Science Week this month, which runs from October 20th to the 24th. This is a national event aiming to educate people about the field of nuclear science. Each year, one U.S. city is chosen to host the main Nuclear Science Week event, and this year it’s Seattle’s turn. Across the country, numerous events will be taking place before, during and after the actual week-long celebration. For a full schedule of events, check out the Nuclear Science Week Calendar of Events.

As October winds down, what other events are you celebrating this month? Let us know on Twitter!