Susanne Cobey, CEO, Eagle Crusher Company, Inc., was inducted into the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Hall of Fame, November 30, 2023. AEM Hall of Fame members are recognized as pioneers whose inventions, ideas, leadership, and courage have contributed to the industry and its community’s quality of life. They represent some of the best, brightest, and most influential minds in the history of the off-road equipment industry. Susanne proudly joins their ranks. Anyone who has ever met or worked with Susanne knows she is a force to be reckoned with. This is her story.

From a child who wanted to be president of GM, to a woman who became the Ford Motor Company’s first female hire in a position other than secretary, to the CEO of Eagle Crusher Company, Susanne is a third-generation entrepreneur. She has been the driving force behind the paradigm shift that turned Eagle Crusher, from its humble beginnings in 1915, into the large-scale manufacturing company it is today.


Susanne joined Eagle Crusher in 1974 as Parts Manager and only its tenth employee since the company had reorganized in 1970. She quickly advanced to become Equipment Sales Manager; VP, Sales & Finance; and ultimately, President/CEO in 1990. She was the only female President/CEO in her industry. In that same year, Susanne acquired the Stedman Machine Company in Aurora, IN.


By 1984, Eagle Crusher needed to find a new direction due to severe sales deterioration caused by the demise of its portable coal crusher line. Susanne knew customers were looking to recycle concrete and asphalt but couldn’t find a viable way to do it. Susanne enumerated, “I started the commercial recycling industry for concrete and asphalt in the United States because there was a tremendous need for it. People were attempting to do it, but with the wrong equipment, and they were failing.”


Susanne found a unique Andreas style impactor in Germany that she knew was the answer and had a plant designed around it, the Jumbo 1400. That first Jumbo 1400 customer had a contract to rebuild runways at Wright Patterson Airforce Base, near Dayton OH. By recycling the concrete and using it as base material when all the other contractors quoted only virgin material, he made nearly $1M on the project. An Industry was born.


Susanne’s recycling insights also allowed her to see the need for a recycling organization focusing on a wider range of recycling businesses than were currently being served at the time. Collaborating with Bill Turley of C&D World, together they came up with the idea for the Construction Materials Recycling Association, now Construction and Demolition Recycling Association. Eagle Crusher was the founding member.

The success of the Jumbo line spurred further development of crushing plants for the recycle and aggregate markets. Susanne continued to build Eagle Crusher’s recycle equipment line and to make it the leader in portable recycling equipment today. Her decision to refocus Eagle Crusher into the recycled concrete and recycled asphalt pavement markets, created not only a whole new product line for Eagle Crusher, but a whole new industry in North America, taking crushing to a new level. Under Susanne’s leadership and her vision, Eagle Crusher has flourished, while helping companies around the world to significantly grow their own businesses.


Also in 1984, Susanne developed a new marketing approach. At the time, manufacturers generally built equipment to the individual customer’s specifications. She developed a line of recycling equipment that she marketed as “Off The Shelf,” readily available for quick delivery. Today, that approach to sales is the norm.


By 1994, as Eagle Crusher manufactured a range of portable recycling plants, the need arose for a more innovative and robust impactor. Under Susanne’s direction, the company introduced its superior impactor line, UltraMax®. The UltraMax line of impactors features a unique, sculpted, solid steel, three-bar rotor. The company began offering the first lifetime rotor warranty for North America in 2014, another industry first at the time.


Susanne has achieved success in a male dominated industry, while being a significant role model for women in the industry. As a female pioneer, Susanne has dedicated herself to helping other women in the industry succeed. Her advice to them has always been that you may have to work harder than the men to get your due recognition, but believe in yourself, and you will make your mark in the industry for future life success.


To help women overcome the challenges, Susanne has presented at Kaleidoscope Women’s Conference on the battle of breaking tradition, and she has addressed the topic of women in the industry in numerous videos and articles in which she has been featured. She has also served as a role model for both young women and men in her many commencement addresses.


Susanne has also received much industry recognition. She is a recipient of the Excellence in Enterprise award by the Ohio Department of Development; the recipient of the Ontario Global Traders Provincial Partnership award for excellence in exporting; profiled in Ohio Magazine; and the subject of “Profiles in Success” in Columbus CEO magazine. She has also spoken at the INC Growing the Company Conference on development of strategic growth plans; and as a panel participant in the Forbes President’s Forum for Emerging & Middle-Market Companies.


As a family company, the majority owned by Susanne, she treats everyone at Eagle Crusher as family. Everyone’s ideas and opinions are important. Eagle Crusher equipment owners are treated like family, too, through, “Team Eagle®,” the business practice Susanne coined and marketed. Its mission is twofold; one, to expand Eagle Crusher’s tradition of continuously innovating new equipment to ensure customers have the best equipment for their needs, and two, to stand behind the equipment, with unsurpassed service and support, to make customers’ jobs easier, and their businesses more productive, and profitable.


Susanne is a believer in helping small communities, especially rural ones, employing people and improving their quality of life. As Eagle Crusher grew from a small manufacturing company founded in Kenton OH, and later moved to Galion, OH to become a key industry player, it could have been easier to relocate the company to a larger urban area where engineering, management personnel, and skilled labor would be easier to recruit and retain. Instead, she continues to operate Eagle Crusher in the small, rural communities of Galion, and Bucyrus, OH, making a big difference to rural life since the company’s inception more than one-hundred years ago.


Susanne’s leadership style, believing in her people, training, and advancing them at all company levels, encouraging their participation in key decision making, and recognizing their efforts, allows her to recruit within rural communities and urban areas, improving quality of life and retaining great people along the way.


The AEM Hall of Fame celebrates the men and women who create the equipment and technologies that build, feed, and power our world. Since its inception in 1993, the Hall of Fame has inducted 67 individuals who have broken ground, literally and figuratively, on the jobsites and farm fields of the world, especially individuals that reflect the diverse and inclusive nature of the modern construction and agriculture equipment manufacturing industry.


AEM is an association that provides services on a global basis for companies that manufacture equipment, products and services used worldwide in the following industries: Agriculture, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Utility. AEM’s membership is made up of more than 950 companies and represents 200+ product lines.