Florida-based Universal Trailer Corp. has debuted a more than $25 million manufacturing facility in Elkhart County. The new, 200,000 square-foot Bristol operation is expected to create 200 jobs. Universal Trailer Chief Executive Officer Terry Carlson says the plant marks a "significant milestone" for the company.
Carlson tells Inside INdiana Business Bristol was the best option. "We looked at many options, both inside the state of Indiana and outside the state of Indiana. There was many things that drew us to further invest in Indiana — we already have two plants currently in Indiana," he said. "Obviously, the work force is one area that was attractive to us. Number two is a good business environment and climate for us here in northern Indiana. Many of the materials and the things that we need to build our trailers are available in the local area, so when we looked at all the different things — from our banking partners, to our partners in the state, to the employees, to sources of supply — the decision was made to stick with Indiana."
He adds the facility was designed "with the employee in mind" and is a response to global demand. Carlson says the advancements included in the plant will double the weekly Haulmark and Wells Cargo trailer production output, compared to traditional methods. "The new plant also takes our employees’ experience into account with an open, modern architecture and internal windows to the show floor throughout the facility. Needless to say, it’s also great for the local Elkhart County economy with 35 new hires and plans to hire an additional 175 full-time and part-time employees over the next 18 months."
The company says it will integrate the latest automotive engineering and manufacturing techniques to produce its redesigned cargo trailers. Universal Trailer has maintained a presence in Elkhart County since 2002 when it acquired Haulmark Industries Inc. of Bristol. It added Wells Cargo brand in Elkhart in 2009. The Bristol operations are among seven of UTC’s plants throughout the country.
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Universal Trailer Corp. Chief Executive Officer Terry Carlson tells Inside INdiana Business Bristol was the best option.