History of Wolter
Wolter: A Legacy of Excellence
The Wolter story begins in 1962, when Otto J. Wolter founded LPM Parts & Service out of a 2-car garage in Milwaukee, he had no way of knowing that it would become one of the largest and most respected names in material handling and beyond.
Through hard work, great customer service and strategic acquisitions, Wolter has grown to include a whole 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.
The Future of Operational Productivity
In May 2021, the company announced it is rebranding Wolter Group LLC and its eight member companies under a single name: Wolter. The new name honors the company’s reputation for a strong customer focus with an emphasis on family values. At the same time, our new tagline —Accelerate Your Productivity — captures the value we bring to customers through our collective strengths and consultative approach. Discover more at WeAreWolter.com.
Our unique combination of resources and expertise have been strategically assembled to accelerate your productivity. As part of its strategic growth plan, the company has acquired five businesses in four states during the past two years.
The company’s top-quality brands include Wisconsin Lift Truck, Illinois Material Handling, Ellis Systems, Wolter Power Systems, Kensar Equipment Company, Bohnert Equipment Company, A D Lift Truck and Fleet Services.
1962: LPM Parts & Service (later renamed Wisconsin Lift Truck) founded
1969: Brookfield headquarters built
1970: Green Bay branch added
1975: Wolter Power Systems division formed
1975-1985: Janesville, Wausau and Rockford branches added
1990: Training division formed
1998: Fleet Services division formed
2001: Eau Claire brand added
2006-2010: Material Handling Services and Wisconsin Industrial Truck acquired
2011: Wolter Group LLC brand introduced to unify family of companies across a growing footprint
2012-2016: Scott Lift Truck, Chicago Lift Truck, Servicemax, Fleet Lift Truck Service and Ellis Systems acquired
2017: Stephan Forklift Repair acquired
2018: West Salem, Wisc. branch built
2019: Kensar Equipment and Bohnert Equipment acquired, expanding territory into Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky
2020: Integrity Industrial Equipment and A D Lift Truck acquired, expanding territory into Missouri and Southern Illinois.
2020: BOSS Railcar Mover product line added
2020: Facility in Bloomington, Ill. added
2021: Company announces it is unifying all its brands under the Wolter name.
Your Operational Productivity Toolbox
Wolter’s knowledgeable experts gather resources from its diverse product brands across multiple categories and industries to create innovative solutions. In an effort to address our customers’ operational productivity challenges more holistically, we are in the process of combining the strengths of our individual brands under the larger Wolter umbrella. Together, our unique combination of expertise and resources helps customers transform today’s operational expenses into tomorrow’s new revenue streams.
During this transitional phase, you’ll see the brands listed below alongside the Wolter name. Eventually, they will all be united under the name Wolter. To learn more about this evolution, visit WeAreWolter.com.
Founded in 1962 as LPM Parts & Service, the larger Wolter story begins with Wisconsin Lift Truck. Starting with forklift parts and service, Otto J. Wolter and his brother-in-law, Joe Weis, would grow the company into a full-service material handling dealership, offering sales, service, parts, rentals, training and more.
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, empowering 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.
Formed in 1985, Illinois Material Handling began as a small service center located in Rockford, Ill. 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. Since then, it has added a full-service branch in Bolingbrook, Ill., becoming Northern Illinois’ trusted source in material handling solutions, providing new and used equipment, service, parts, rental, and training.
In 1998, Fleet Services was established to address a demand for solving warehouse inefficiencies and the need for a solution to reduce costs associated with moving materials throughout their facilities. Following the success of designing and implementing fleet improvement strategies for a variety of the Midwest’s largest companies, Fleet Services built a reputation for quality in the material handling industry, using strategies such as Fleet Studies and Material Flow Studies. Over the decades, we have become the largest trusted source for fleet management solutions throughout the Midwest and beyond.
Founded in 1963, Ellis Systems has developed a long-lasting reputation in both space-saving and cost-saving solutions throughout the Midwest. 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.
Founded in 1996 in Indianapolis, Kensar supplies customers all over Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky with new and used forklift options through their robust wholesale fleet of new and used forklifts, aerial lifts, rough terrain forklifts, personnel carriers, and other heavy equipment. In addition, it is a full-service dealer, providing parts, rentals and service support to businesses through Indiana, Southwestern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. Since merging with Wolter in 2019, Kensar has grown its offerings to include pallet racking, training, automation and much more.
Founded in 1956, Bohnert is a one-stop-shop material handling provider servicing Kentucky, offering sales, service, parts, rentals, and training to businesses throughout. In addition to material handling, it specializes in engineered systems such as conveyors, cranes, hoists and pallet racking. Bohnert joined Wolter in 2019, becoming a strong addition to our growing suite of solutions.
Founded in St. Louis in 1977, A D Lift Truck supplies businesses with material handling equipment such as new and pre-owned forklifts, aerial lifts, pallet racking, and more. Serving the St. Louis Metro Area and Southern Illinois, it also offers service & repair, rentals, parts, and training to support facilities in St. Louis and St. Clair. It joined forces with Wolter in 2020.