The industry’s consummate serial entrepreneur, Scag invented or improved much of the equipment landscapers use yet today.
Dane Scag, who founded Scag Mowers and established several other brands of landscape maintenance equipment, has died. He was 94.
Scag got his start in the industry with his founding of BOB-CAT in the 70s, a brand of mowing equipment that still exists today. It was with BOB-CAT that he designed the commercial-grade 21-inch walk-behind mower, which was used by thousands of contractors and became the leading mower in the industry.
After selling BOB-CAT to Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries, a British agricultural machinery maker, he went on to found Scag Power Equipment. The first mower Scag Power introduced to the industry was a three wheel mowing tractor. He also developed and introduced the first dual hydro drive wide area walk mower, which won him the prestigious OEMie Award in 1990. In 1986, Metalcraft of Mayville purchased the company and Scag stayed on as president.
In 1991, Scag left his namesake company and in 1996 he founded Great Dane Power Equipment. It was at Great Dane that he created the surfer stand mower, the first stand-on mower in the industry. The surfer mower earned Scag his second OEMie. Eventually he sold Great Dane to John Deere in December of 2000.
Steve Redan, chairman of KPM, started distributing for Dane in 1986. He described Scag as a clever and ingenious man who could look at a piece of equipment, and then build a better version.
“He had a great relationship with his dealers,” Redan says. “His dealers loved him. Dealers would suggest things and he would do that. Then he would come back to the dealer six months later and say ‘See what I did for you?’ He would actually buy the loyalty of the customer because he would listen and do what the customers felt was the right thing.”
Rick Cuddihe, CLP, President of Lafayette Consulting Company, Lafayette Property Maintenance, was a longtime friend and business partner of Scag’s. He met Scag in 1972 and in 1996 helped him start Great Dane as a stock holder.
“Dane’s equipment innovations and creative designs have changed our industry for the better and I’ll never forget him,” Cuddihe says. “I learned a lot about equipment design and production from him, but more about life from watching him do the right thing time and time again.”