Kaufman Trailer expansion is economic bright spot in Beaver City
By Gene Morris
In a town of 640 people in the middle of America and in the middle of the worst economic downturn in decades, a trailer manufacturing company is in the midst of a major expansion project, more than tripling the size of its production and storage facilities.
The action is happening at Kaufman Trailers, a trailer production facility which opened a 23,000 square foot plant in Beaver City, Nebraska in January of 2006. Less than four years later, the company owner, Mr. Kaufman, is in Beaver City to supervise the building of a 48,800 square foot building for steel storage, stacking bays and future expansion.
Best employees anywhere.
Making use of personnel during the economic slowdown, almost all the work is being done by Kaufman Trailers’ employees, both from the Beaver City plant and Kaufman Trailer plants in North Carolina.
“We have five trailer plants and this is one of the smaller ones,” Kaufman said, “but we have been very impressed with the work ethic here. You can be proud because Nebraska has the best employees anywhere.”
The new 122-foot by 400-foot building is scheduled for completion in October. “The new space won’t be completely finished until insulation is installed, but we will start using the building as soon as the rest of the work is done,” said Steve Forbes, the general manager of Kaufman’s Beaver City production facility.
Big impact on Beaver City.
Even before embarking on the expansion project, Kaufman Trailers has made a dramatic difference in the economy of the Beaver City area. Currently the firm has 20 employees in Beaver City, generating a payroll in excess of $500,000 annually. In addition to management staff, the Kaufman team in Beaver City includes eight welders, three finishers, two painters, two truck drivers, one yard man, one parts man and one saw man.
In years to come, the economic impact could become much greater, as Kaufman sees potential for adding 40 more jobs, tripling the workforce in the Beaver City plant. One of the reasons for the upside outlook is Beaver City’s location. As the westernmost of Kaufman Trailers’ plants, it is the most cost effective place for trailer shipments to the western United States.
Expansion in Nebraska was ‘a good experience’.
Kaufman Trailers, established in 1987, now has five trailer plants in operation and development. The company’s headquarters, and the firm’s largest plant is in Lexington, North Carolina. Kaufman Trailers also has two plants in Ohio and a newly opened plant in Bennettsville, South Carolina.
As a result of the South Carolina project, the man who has served as the plant manager at Beaver City since 2006 will be moving on. Tim Meyers, who was crucial to the Beaver City facility’s start-up and growth, will be leaving soon to take over plant management duties in the South Carolina plant.
The new plant manager in Beaver City, Shane Henderson, is already on the job. He will be joining forces with Steve Forbes, the general manager, in directing operations at the Nebraska plant.
“I remain grateful to the people of Beaver City and the people of Nebraska,” Kaufman said. “The local government and economic development board were great to work with, as were the governor’s office and the state economic development office. It’s been a good experience from the moment we first made contact, and I look for good things to keep happening in the future.”