History

The Wolter story begins in 1962, when Otto J. Wolter, CEO, founded the company out of a two-car garage in Milwaukee, WI. The business started out as an aftermarket parts supplier, selling spare parts before expanding into service and used material handling equipment. From there, Otto took on new lift truck lines and began to grow the business organically. That growth continues today.

A Tradition of Excellence

From humble beginnings, Wolter has grown into one of the regions’ largest and most respected operational productivity solutions providers. This business success story is grounded in dedication to customer satisfaction, future-forward thinking and family.

Through hard work, great customer service and acquisitions, we have grown to include an extensive suite of operational productivity solutions including material handling, automation and robotics, cranes and hoists, engineered systems, storage and handling, railcar movers, power systems, workplace storage, service, parts and accessories, rentals and training.

This exceptional range of products, services and expertise, enables our team of experts to address your operational productivity challenges more holistically. We’re confident that by seeing the bigger productivity picture, we can help you transform today’s operational expenses into tomorrow’s new revenue streams.

History Highlights

1962LPM Parts & Service founded (later renamed Wisconsin Lift Truck)
1970Green Bay, WI branch added
1975Wolter Power Systems division formed
1975-1985Janesville, WI, Wausau, WI & Rockford, IL branches added
1990Training division formed
1995
Acquired Fiorenza Material Handling
1998
AmGen acquired and Fleet Services division formed
2000
Brookfield, WI headquarters built
2001Eau Claire, WI branch added
2006Material Handling Services acquired
2010
WITCO Systems acquired 
2011Wolter Group LLC brand introduced to unify family of companies across a growing footprint & expanding portfolio
2012Scott Lift Truck and YDR acquired
2014
Chicago Lift Truck acquired
2015
Servicemax and Fleet Lift Truck Service acquired
2016
Ellis Systems acquired
2017Stephan Forklift Repair acquired
2018West Salem, WI branch built
2019Kensar Equipment & Bohnert Equipment acquired, expanding territory into Indiana, Ohio & Kentucky
2020Integrity Industrial Equipment, A D Lift Truck and K & L Equipment acquired, expanding territory into Missouri & Southern IL
2021Power Products Plus and Advantage Materials Handling Group acquired
2021Company announces it is unifying all brands under the Wolter name
2022Valley Industrial Crane acquired
2022
Wolter celebrates its 60th anniversary & is awarded the BizTimes Future 50 Award


Our Legacy Brands

Over the years, Wolter has kept its sights squarely on what we can do to better serve our customers. As a result, we’ve grown our footprint and capabilities through both the fostering and strategic acquisition of industry-leading brands. Here’s a closer look at some of the brands that have helped make us what we are today. Wisconsin Lift Truck, Founded in 1962, as LPM Parts & Service, the larger Wolter story begins with Wisconsin Lift Truck. Starting with forklift parts & service, Otto J. Wolter, co-owner Bill Sommers, and Otto's family members; Joe Weis and Rusty Isler would grow the company into a full-service material handling dealership, offering sales, service, parts, rentals, training & more.

Wolter Power Systems

As Wisconsin Lift Truck grew, so did its need for forklift engines. In 1975, Wolter Power Systems was founded as a sole Deutz engine distributor. The business grew steadily each year, allowing Wolter to become the authorized dealer for many new industrial engine lines, along with exchange engines, generators, transfer switches, pumps and mobile light towers from leading manufacturers.

Illinois Material Handling
Formed in 1985, Illinois Material Handling began as a small service center located in Rockford, IL. Originally serviced from Wisconsin Lift Truck’s Janesville facility, due to high demand across the state line, expansion was needed to develop physical operations in the area. Over time, IMH would grow to become one of the most trusted sources in material handling solutions in northern Illinois, providing new and used equipment, service, parts, rentals, and training.
Fleet Services
In 1998, Fleet Services was established to address a demand for solving warehouse inefficiencies by reducing costs associated with a facility’s material flow and the maintenance of entire forklift fleets. After designing and implementing successful fleet improvement strategies for a variety of the region’s largest companies, Fleet Services would become one of the largest and most trusted sources for fleet management solutions throughout the Midwest and beyond.
Kensar Equipment Company
Founded in 1996 in Indianapolis, Kensar was known for its robust fleet of new and used forklifts, aerial lifts, rough terrain forklifts, personnel carriers and other heavy equipment. Since merging with Wolter in 2019, its offerings and expertise has been instrumental in growing Wolter’s wholesale business as well as footprint into Indiana, southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky.
Ellis Systems
Founded in 1963, Ellis Systems has developed a long-lasting reputation for both space-savings and cost-savings. Offering both office and industrial storage solutions, Ellis Systems specializes in high-density mobile shelving, vertical carousels, vertical lift modules, facility automation, and robotic solutions, in addition to rotary files, storage shelving, color-coded filing and more. Wolter acquired Ellis Systems in 2016, allowing us to expand our footprint in the rapidly evolving automated material management and storage industry.
Bohnert Equipment Company
Founded in 1934, Bohnert grew to become Kentucky’s one-stop-shop for material handling and engineered systems, such as conveyors, cranes, hoists and pallet racking. Bohnert joined Wolter in 2019, adding to our growing suite of enterprise productivity solutions.
AD Lift Truck
Founded in St. Louis in 1977, A D Lift Truck specialized in material handling equipment, such as new and pre-owned forklifts, aerial lifts, pallet racking, and more. It joined forces with Wolter in 2020, expanding our end-to-end solutions offerings into the St. Louis Metro Area and Southern Illinois from its facilities in St. Louis and St. Clair.
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An Eye Toward the Future

Wolter wouldn’t be what it is today without the expertise and experience of our component brands. Each acquisition and expansion puts us in a better position to serve you, our customers. 

As your operations continue to grow, you can trust that Wolter will do everything it can to provide the technology, equipment and support to keep your business ahead of the competition.

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