To be located on Edgewood Ave.
Sutphen, founded in 1890, is the nation’s largest family-owned and operated fire apparatus manufacturer.
“This new facility will provide an incredible opportunity for our family’s business and for the city of Urbana to grow together,” said Sutphen Corporation President Drew Sutphen, a fourth-generation family member. “For the last 131 years, our family business has worked to build the safest, most reliable fire apparatus in the world. This step will help ensure that our family continues doing the same for the next 131 years.
“This has been our passion for over the last year and a half when we started this project,” Sutphen continued. “I want to thank everyone for coming. Urbana and Champaign County, the community and city officials have really made it happen.”
Other family members also spoke at the ceremony.
“There are very few companies in the country and even the world that have made it into the fourth generations,” said Vice President Julie Phelps Sutphen. “It is about 2 percent or less. It happened by our father, grandfathers and great-grandfathers instilling in all of us a strong family value and work ethic. That has been important for us in the fourth generation to pass to the fifth.”
Local officials have helped shepherd the project along, including city officials.
“I am so excited. This has been a long time coming,” said Urbana Mayor Bill Bean. “I have to thank the Urbana School Board. It is so exciting to work with them on the growth of Urbana. They have done a lot of work with the Champaign Economic Partnership. With Sutphen coming here, along with our other manufacturing, that is our lifeblood. It is wonderful to have the manufacturers that we have.”
“Good things in life don’t just happen,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan. “If you want to accomplish things of meaning and significance that have real lasting value, it takes work, effort and sacrifice. Those are the qualities we celebrate today. This amazing family has been in operation since 1890 and that does not happen very often.”
Makes good use of vacant building
The company, the oldest continuously owned and operated fire apparatus manufacturer in the U.S., is establishing a new Service, Parts and Refurbishment Center at 49 N. Ludlow Road, Urbana. The company is recruiting service technicians and will initially provide 22 jobs at the Urbana facility.
The new location gives Sutphen room to expand its parts inventory and focus more on refurbishing fire engines, a side of the business with promising growth potential, says President Drew Sutphen, the fourth generation of his family to lead the 128-year-old company.
Sutphen recently attended a Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) Board of Trustees meeting with Todd Winnenberg, general manager of the company’s Service and Chassis Divisions.
Winnenberg said the new Urbana facility will enable the company to expand chassis assembly operations at Sutphen’s Springfield site. He added that the company will also use the new Urbana site to launch Sutphen University, a new program for training and educating customers.
“We’re so excited to welcome such an established and growing business to Champaign County,” CEP Director Marcia Bailey said. “And we’re grateful for the cooperative effort that has made this possible.”
She gives special credit to Terry Howell of Howell Brothers Development, which originally built Sutphen’s new Urbana location in 2012 for Pioneer DuPont. Howell has worked with Sutphen to modify the facility to accommodate the company’s specialized needs.
Howell said: “I really appreciate the County Building Regulations Department working with us and providing guidance in the project. It’s a great use of the facility, and Sutphen is a great company to have in Champaign County.
“They will be the largest employer, besides the schools, for the Triad school district – just a great addition to the community.”
Winnenberg said: “We are working hard to grow the service and parts piece of the business. It’s a good feeling to know that we have grown to the point where we need additional space and employees.” He added that the new location offers space for future expansion.
“In a time when we see so much change within manufacturers in the industry, it is refreshing to know that Sutphen is here. Still family-owned, still strong, stable and committed to the fire service, and continuing to grow,” Sutphen said.
“We have seen consistent growth in sales, and as a result of that, we can expand the business in ways that will allow us to continue to put out a great product and meet the increased demands we are seeing. It’s all about building a better experience for our customers, and that is what we are committed to.”
Sutphen, which is headquartered in Dublin, also is experiencing growth at other locations:
* Last year the company announced a new manufacturing facility in Scranton, Pa.
* The company’s Hilliard manufacturing facility recently created a new and improved customer final inspection area.
* Sutphen’s Dublin manufacturing facility will repurpose an existing building for pumper body assembly to meet demands and increase custom pumper output.