Last year, LBX Co., which makes Link-Belt Excavators, faced a quandary.
While LBX was spun off as a separate company from crane- maker Link-Belt Construction Equipment in 1998, the two continue to be confused as one company in Lexington, said LBX spokeswoman Amy Maddox.
With goals of raising local awareness of the company and also helping a local charity, LBX found its solution in Pinkie Linkie, an excavator to be painted pink to honor breast cancer group Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
"Even though our industry is pretty male-dominated, a lot of the construction companies are mom-and-pop businesses," Maddox said. "When we started talking about it, everyone said Komen would be great because so many people have family members who are affected by breast cancer."
Employees settled on painting a Link-Belt 80 Spin Ace excavator, among the smallest the company makes and an ideal choice because it would need to be transported easily to events to raise awareness.
The company chose one that had been shipped on its behalf to a Pennsylvania port and approached the site's workers about painting it.
"We got a bunch of laughs and then the laughing stopped, and they said, 'You know what? This is really, really cool,'" Maddox said. "The port facility donated the labor. All we had to pay for was the paint."
And by the time it was ready for transport, a trucking company had learned of Pinkie Linkie "and was begging us to let them haul it," Maddox said.
Since arriving in Lexington in June, Pinkie Linkie has made appearances at events including Lexington's Fourth of July parade, Lexington Legends baseball games and the Child Development Center of the Bluegrass's Touch-a-Truck event at Keeneland.
"The reaction is crazy," Maddox said. "The visceral reaction men are having to this equipment is really pretty cool.
"The best part of it has been hearing the thank-yous for raising awareness."
At each site, company employees explain that the end of the excavator is known as a bucket, then they encourage people to drop in money to support Komen because "every drop in the bucket helps," Maddox said.
Jennifer Bricking, executive director of the Susan G. Komen affiliate in Lexington, said the excavator has been a great way to raise awareness of the group.
"A lot of people when you're diagnosed with breast cancer might not know where to go or who to call," Bricking said. "Hopefully they've seen our name or ribbon and know if they have a question, they can call Susan G. Komen and we'll have resources or answers."
Since its arrival in Lexington, Pinkie Linkie has continued to benefit from voluntary transportation. Wilson Equipment used one of its trucks to haul the excavator in the Fourth of July parade, and Roberts Heavy-Duty Towing and Recovery has been invaluable, too, Maddox said.
And it looks as if Pinkie Linkie might need more help in the near future with road trips.
"Our dealers have gotten wind of this, and we already have calls requesting it to go to Wisconsin and Iowa," Maddox said. "Our dealer in Louisville has also asked for it for a golf tournament."