Employee spotlight

Nick Ackerman and High-Wheel Bikes

Growing up in England, EDCO technical department team member Nick Ackerman was familiar with high-wheel bikes and their large front wheel paired with a significantly smaller back wheel, but he never thought he would own one.

That changed in 2005 (well after his family moved to the United States) when he walked by a bike shop’s front window and saw a high-wheel bike — which is technically called a “penny-farthing,” named after old British coins (the larger penny and smaller farthing). Ackerman asked the store owner if he could test drive the bike, and took to the bike almost naturally because of prior experience riding a unicycle when he was young.

But at that time, the store didn’t want to sell that high-wheel bike. In 2010, as he longed for a penny-farthing, Ackerman sold his motorcycle and made the purchase, which comes with a much-larger pricetag than a standard bike. Since then, he’s been positioned atop his approximately four-foot front wheel for competitions and leisure rides. His only regret is that he didn’t start earlier.

“I took to it like a fish to water. I enjoyed it a lot because you’re way high up and everybody wants to see you.” Ackerman said. “It’s like being a rock star. You get more pictures taken of you in one hour than you did the whole rest of your life.”

Two years after buying his bike, a penny-farthing race began in nearby downtown Frederick. The race is one of only a handful in the whole world, and has taken place each year since 2012 aside from a one-year hiatus in 2019 before it is set to return in 2020.

The event consists of a 0.4-mile loop that participants ride for a set amount of time while their number of laps are tracked to determine a winner. As the number of participants has grown over the years, qualifying races have been added to compile the field for the finals later in the day.

Even among the dozens of riders, Ackerman sticks out. He equipped his bike with custom wooden handlebars he made, and wears an old-time outfit complete with plus-four pants (which extend just past the knee), a long-sleeve shirt with an old-style collar and vest, and an old helmet.

Photos of Ackerman at Frederick's penny-farthing race. Photos courtesy: Craig Shipp (top-left), Jeremy Rusnock (top-right) and Alicia Kerns (bottom)

“My favorite part is just is just the crowd factor of everybody being so interested in what you're doing,” Ackerman said. “A horn sounds and then everybody pours it on, and that's a goosebump moment.”

Ackerman has participated in the event each year except for one, when he let his best friend ride his penny-farthing — which prompted him to buy a bike of his own.

According to Ackerman, the biggest obstacle to getting accustomed to the bike is stopping. Bikes can be fitted with handbrakes, but traditionally bikes don’t have brakes. Instead, the user has to have a plan — which involves lowering your speed and quickly getting off the bike to stop.

Another variation from a typical bike is the fact that the penny-farthings don’t coast, so the operator is constantly pedaling while the bike is in motion. And when you pedal, the bike is pulling toward the direction of the pedal used, so the user is constantly working the handlebars to counteract that and ride straight.

Outside of the race, Ackerman occasionally takes his penny-farthing out for leisure rides on paved trails, the C&O canal or with other riders in group settings.

Check Out EDCO's New Podcast Series:

Listen First, Lead Second

EDCO's Vice President of Operations Jason Stanczyk has wanted to improve upon his leadership skills. Stanczyk has always been one to absorb leadership advice and techniques from a variety of sources and try to apply what he learned. Now, Stanczyk goes behind the microphone to record those conversations in EDCO's first-ever podcast series "Listen First, Lead Second," where he interviews community and business leaders he respects. It is his hope that while he becomes a better leader, the listeners can also benefit from the conversation and improve their leadership skills as well.

Listen First, Lead Second is available on PodBean, Apple podcasts and Spotify.

Episode 1, released at the beginning of January, features a conversation between Stanczyk and Julian Lazarus, who's a theater educator, arts and education advocate and an art integration specialist.

Evolution of the EDCO Logo


60 years ago, the newly founded Equipment Development Company’s dual-disc grinder was on the brink of changing the rental industry and giving customers a machine to meet the pressing need of resurfacing large areas of concrete. After the new division of Rental Tools & Equipment in Silver Spring, Maryland, was born in 1959, a logo was created to differentiate the two and display on the dual-disc grinder and the wave of other new machines that followed shortly after. The gears of the EDCO logo derived from Rental Tools & Equipment’s logo that also featured rounded gears around the company name.


In 1984, as EDCO celebrated the 25th anniversary of the company, we decided to highlight the durability of our machines that withstand the rigors of many rental jobs with little maintenance or replacements. The “Rental-Tough” slogan was implemented on literature and incorporated onto the logo 1984. That “Rental-Tough” phrase is still used at EDCO today, as machines still proudly display that standard on a decal.


While the Rental-Tough component of the logo was removed from the logo in 1993, our machines never compromised quality and the ability to withstand the rigors of the tough rental jobs. This 1993 edition of the logo maintained the gears of the original logo, but added a globe through the larger gear. The globe represented that our company was worldwide, which was a common marketing emphasis among businesses in that era.


In 1999, for the first time in the company’s history, a logo without gears appeared. What’s remained consistent on the logo over the past 60 years has been the font of “EDCO.” The new logo as we prepared for the turn of the century simplified the design of our logo, and was clean-cut to continue to use going forward, as it’s still our company’s logo and represents what we are as a manufacturer. The logo isn’t flashy or over-the-top, but it gets the job done – just like our machines have done for the past 60 years.

Using edcoed to train our customers

EDCO's Free Online Training

At EDCO, one of our core beliefs is training — along with quality and safety, technology and American manufacturing. Our training initiatives are designed to help our customers be successful with our equipment.

EDCOEd was introduced in early 2017 and operates on our fundamental basis that proper training creates lasting success and rental profitability with EDCO products.

This free, 24-hour training option includes six certification tracks, each focusing on EDCO’s major product groupings:

Each concentration track has sections regarding products’ maintenance, the importance and achievement of dust suppression, and information on profitably renting the equipment. Every section that comprises the concentration tracks contains videos and questions that the user must answer correctly to ultimately become certified for that grouping.

The MagnaTrap track reviews many important factors of our new-era concrete grinding surface preparation equipment and tooling that is specifically designed to withstand the rigorous rental industry. EDCOEd users review the stripping, grinding and removing applications that the versatile MagnaTrap grinders and tooling are capable of achieving.

In the Crete-Plane Systems® track, EDCOEd users are given an overview of our concrete planers (also known as scarifiers) that are designed to level, remove, clean, and texture surfaces. Registered EDCOEd users are also trained to properly load the drum with accessories. In this grouping is the rental industry’s most profitable product, the 8” Walk-Behind Crete-Planer® (model CPM8), which is commonly used for removing sidewalk trip hazards.

The Crete-Crush® concentration track focuses on EDCO’s Crete-Crushers (also known as scabblers). These air-powered machines are used for bulk removal applications such as recapping, demolishing concrete curbs, and ceramic tile removal.

While each concentration track covers dust suppression, the EDCO Vacuum Systems concentration track gives an overview of using EDCO’s line of vacuums. A video comparison of our vacuum systems versus common shop vacs clearly exemplifies why using EDCO’s vacuum systems is the best option. OSHA’s silica dust standards are also explained to EDCOEd users in this track.

The electric-powered Tile Shark and the air-powered chisel scalers are covered in the Tile Removal track. During this track, users are shown the common applications and proper usage for both the Tile Shark and chisel scaler, which are both used to remove floor coverings and surfaces, including: vinyl, linoleum, carpeting, rubber flooring, and ceramic.

The final track of EDCO’s professional training platform familiarizes the user with our expansive line of professional sawing equipment. The walk-behind, self-propelled, and table saws in this grouping are used for short-run and long-run applications, and cutting a variety of materials including concrete, asphalt, and stone.

Upon completion of each EDCOEd track, customers are emailed a certificate to signify their newfound proficiency with our products and accessories.

The benefits of EDCOEd are already spreading around the country as rental stores that have carried EDCO products for decades are using our training platform to equip their employees with the knowledge to provide information to customers, answer questions, maintain the machines and profitably rent out the equipment and tooling.

our home - Frederick, MD

The Weinberg Center for the Arts

The Weinberg Center has been a staple in Downtown Frederick dating back to 1926. It began as the Tivoli, a high-end movie theater that was also equipped with the necessary components -- such as an orchestra pit, large stage, pulleys and dressing rooms -- to welcome live performances. The Tivoli was adorned with crystal chandeliers, marble and silk wall coverings and leather seats, making it a premium venue to watch a film or live show.

As theaters began feeling the residual effects of the rising popularity of television, the Tivoli lost some of its glamor and appeal in the 1950s. Later that same decade, Dan and Alyce Weinberg stepped forward to buy the Tivoli for $150,000 -- $200,000 less than the cost to build the venue. The Weinbergs renovated the theater and reopened for business but still felt the ill effects of trying to keep up with television and other entertainment outlets.

So in 1975, the Weinbergs formulated a plan to turn the theater into a cultural arts center with hopes to bring life back to the once-lively Downtown Frederick area. But in 1976, before any plans commenced, a major flood threatened the theater's future. Instead of tearing down the building, though, community leaders volunteered to help restore the building. According to the center's website, "Sixteen months and $175,000 later, on February 9, 1978, the theater reopened as the Weinberg Center for the Arts, named in honor of the Weinberg family, who donated the building to the City of Frederick."

Since the Weinberg family donated the building, the center has continued to evolve into what it is today -- a main fixture in Downtown Frederick, and a premier venue for entertainment. There have been Broadways plays, symphony orchestras, choirs, comedians, storytellers, and more on stage at the Weinberg Center. There are still classic and silent movies, which are intensified with the Wurlitzer organ at the Weinberg Center. The organ is the same that was installed in 1926, making it the only organ in the state of Maryland to exist in its original installation location.

Historical information via The Weinberg Center for the Arts' website. Click below to learn more!