INDIANAPOLIS—AirWorx Construction Equipment & Supply, an equipment rental, sales and service company, wanted to do something to help ease the financial burden on families affected by autism.
Scott Huggins, vice president of AirWorx, has a child who was diagnosed with autism. He, along with AirWorx President Dick Kagy contacted Tim Morris, vice president of market development and sales for the Americas for JLG Industries, one of AirWorx’s largest equipment suppliers. Huggins wanted to see if JLG would work with AirWorx to produce a uniquely designed boom lift that could help promote autism awareness. Morris has a six-year old son who is also affected with autism, and both he and his wife are champions of the cause.
The idea was simple. AirWorx would purchase the boom lift for its rental fleet, and JLG would paint it a special color and create unique “jigsaw puzzle” graphics that would cover the entire surface of the machine to symbolize the pieces of the autism puzzle that have yet to be completed. The boom lift would then be rented to AirWorx’s customers, and a percentage of the rental income would be donated to fund autism-related activities. In addition to AirWorx’s contribution, rental customers could elect to contribute an additional amount over the rental rate, with 100% of that amount going directly to autism-related programs.
After presenting the idea to JLG management, Morris received the go ahead, and work began on the machine. AirWorx took delivery in November and is donating 20% of all rental revenue generated, with half going to the Autism Society of America (ASA), and the other half set aside for a scholarship to the Independence Academy, a school in Indianapolis that specializes in education for middle- and high-school students with high-functioning autism. The Independence Academy is a private, non-profit, non-sectarian school that was created by and for families affected by autism. Tuition costs $10,500 per academic year, and the contributions from AirWorx will go toward reducing much of this expense.
Based on AirWorx’s current rental rates for the boom lift, it is anticipated that more than $7,000 per year will be set aside for contributions to ASA and the Independence Academy, with upwards of $70,000 donated over the life of AirWork’s commitment. According to Huggins and Kagy however, if things work out as planned, this could just be the start of a greater commitment in the future.
For more information about autism visit www.autism-society.org.