Josh Deaton

Ledwell Employee Spotlight for July 2021

When Josh Deaton left his job as a structural welder at a paper mill seven years ago, he knew he had a lot to learn–but he was ready for the challenge.

“Currently, I weld aluminum feed trailers,” he said. “That is a whole other world to what I was doing before, and would never have learned that if I hadn’t started working at Ledwell.”

Ledwell Employee Spotlight for July 2021

One of his favorite projects over the years has been a Low Center of Gravity Feed Trailer. This particular feed trailer was very unique. It included a self-contained motor on the front and a vacuum reclaimer at the rear. 

“I think I enjoyed this one so much because of how it needed to be built,” Josh said. “The front had a lot of structure and was similar to what I have welded in the past.”

Josh said his wife of six years, Christina, inspired him to get into welding. 

“She made me a better person,” he said. 

The two have a son and daughter, and the family enjoys hiking in the mountains and sitting on the porch swing.

From the ’50s to the 2020s, Rental One Grows with Ledwell Equipment

Rental One is a Texas-sized success story. From its origins as a single store called A1 Rental in the mid-’50s, the company was sold to a national brand in 1998 and then reopened as Rental One in 2004 under third-generation family leadership.

“The core of our business is commercial and industrial contractors,” said Mark Lemons, Executive Vice President of Rental One.

Today, Rental One has 17 locations in North and Central Texas, with a service area stretching from the Red River to south of San Antonio. The company’s decades of renting equipment give them solid expertise that its customers can rely on.

“The knowledge level and industry experience we have at Rental One is unmatched, that I know of, anywhere,” Lemons said. “The years and years and years of experience—that’s what makes Rental One special.”

The original founder of A1 Rental, Ray O’Neal, knew Ledwell founder Buddy Ledwell, and the two started doing business in the late ’50s. 

“When we started back up as Rental One in 2004, it was just natural for us to buy Ledwell equipment,” Lemons said. “There was already a relationship and a partnership we had built with Ledwell.”

Getting equipment to customers on time requires dependable transportation. That’s where Ledwell comes in.

“We purchase delivery trailers, delivery rollbacks, stake bed delivery trucks, and we’ve purchased some Lube Buddies and water trucks,” Lemons said. “We rent out the water trucks, but everything else is used for our own internal delivery fleet.”

Lemons said Ledwell’s stock of chassis and upfitting capabilities helped streamline Rental One’s truck purchasing process.

One of the challenges in the past was that you had to buy chassis from a dealership, and then you'd have to arrange transportation to take it to the body up fitter," he said. "That created issues with weight ratings and warranty issues. With Ledwell, we can just purchase a truck and have it upfitted, which basically saves you from dealing with the issues and headaches of dealing with two different entities and risking mistakes with vehicle rating, warranty issues, and those types of things.

Mark LemonsExecutive Vice President, Rental One

Lemons said working with Ledwell has been an all-around good experience.

“I would rank Ledwell very highly,” he said. “One of the nice things about Ledwell is that they listen to us, they understand our operation, they understand what our use is for a given trailer or truck, and they’re flexible and tailor things based on our individual needs. They understand the product and what they’ve built for us. And if we have issues, they’re quick to respond and rectify those issues. They’re top-notch.”

He said Rental One values its relationships with vendors.

“Sometimes it’s not all about price; it’s just about having a great relationship,” he said. “We truly look at our vendors as partners in our business. Ledwell is in the top tier of folks we deal with as far as relationship, fairness, willingness to look at a situation and help us out when needed. We want our vendors to view us as a company that has integrity, that is willing to work with them and look at the big picture, not just chasing the cheapest deal.”

Lemons said Rental One has a reputation of not changing vendors a lot.

“We really value that relationship,” he said. “We look for the top vendors, and when we build that relationship, we don’t move around. We’re proud to have a relationship with Ledwell that started in the 50s.”

The Legacy of Buddy Ledwell

Even as a young boy, L. W. “Buddy” Ledwell knew the importance of taking care of people and customers

Buddy grew up working on a farm in Waxahachie, Texas, plowing with steel-wheeled tractors, and in the family ice cream plant, where he waited on customers and took on a delivery route when he was just eleven years old.

When he graduated from high school, he moved to Texarkana to take a job with Safety Commissioner Warren Smith at the Red River Army Depot. Buddy began working in carpentry but quickly progressed to engineering.

After joining the army, Buddy went overseas with the Army Engineers. He attained the rank of Corporal just two weeks after he entered because he could break down an M1 rifle and put it back together in the dark. As an engineer, he spent most of his time building hospitals and roads, as well as unloading ships.

When Buddy returned from serving in World War II in 1946, he and his father, Lloy Ward Ledwell, started a lumber company called Ledwell & Son. One day Buddy needed a certain kind of truck trailer to haul lumber, so he rolled up his sleeves and welded the frame he needed to get the job done. A neighboring farmer saw the trailer and asked, “Where’d you get that? I need one!” So Buddy built it.

Pretty soon, Ledwell & Son had a burgeoning side business building pickup racks and livestock trailers, and it soon became the focus of the operation. When a farmer or a feed lot owner identified a problem with their equipment, Buddy and his father found a way to manufacture a solution.

Corporal Buddy Ledwell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

On February 12, 1950, Buddy married Mary Elizabeth Hardy—also known as Betty—a quick-witted Texarkana native who was one of the first women in the state to compete in cutting horse competitions. According to family and longtime Ledwell employees, Buddy considered Betty the “President of the World.” In fact, he often told friends that the only person he took orders from besides General Patton was Betty. Betty stood by his side for the rest of her life. Betty was passionate about horses, and while Buddy grew his business at Ledwell, she managed the family’s farm. The two had a son, Steve, and he and his wife, Lisa, have three children—Lesley, Ben, and Morgan.

In 1955, Buddy incorporated Ledwell & Son and built his first truck shop at the corner of Robison Road and Waco Street in Texarkana, Texas. We’d say the rest is history, but in reality, it took a lot of long hours, hard work, dedication, and determination for Buddy and his family to build Ledwell into what it is today—a growing manufacturing company blessed with many dedicated employees on an 82-acre site. Buddy had a keen sense of his customers’ needs, sometimes even before they did, and he customized products to respond to their business needs. Since the company began, adapting to the customer’s needs has been a guiding force at Ledwell.

Buddy Ledwell was living proof that if you work hard and stay humble, you can truly build a legacy. Whatever the problem was, he saw a need and he fixed it. He lived by the mantra that there are no problems, only opportunities. Buddy Ledwell never met ‘can’t,’ and as a result, neither did his employees. They soon learned that when Buddy or a customer requested a seemingly impossible task, they should say ‘Yes, we can do that,’ and then figure out how. Rather than intimidating his workers, Buddy’s can-do spirit challenged them to accomplish more than they thought was possible. Anyone who visited Buddy’s office may have seen one of his favorite quotes hanging on the wall: “No man ever drowned in his own sweat,” by Ann Landers.

If you walked into a Ledwell shop right now and asked any employee what the company means to them, chances are they’d say “Family.” Those who knew him well said Buddy took communicating face-to-face with a handshake to an art form. Buddy started a tradition of walking through the shops at Ledwell each day to talk to his employees and see what they were working on, and that’s a tradition the family continues to this day. Most of the time, he’d greet his workers with, “Morning, Son,” no matter what time of day it was. Buddy often said, “It’s always morning at Ledwell.”

Anyone who encountered Buddy had a good chance of hearing one of his Buddy-isms. “‘Preciate ‘cha,” he might say, or, “Son, we work best after five o’clock.” He was known for telling customers, “Son, you don’t have to pay us until you gin your cotton.” If you made a mistake, you might here, “Oh, shaw, son.” And if you did a great job on something, Buddy might tell you, “You’re so good, I’ll give you Easter off this year if it falls on a Sunday.”

Buddy Ledwell passed away on January 29, 2013, at 88 years old, preceded in death by his beloved wife Betty. He drove himself to work the day he died. Today we remember Buddy Ledwell as not just a great man, but also as the driving force behind building a lasting company that solves complex problems with an extraordinary work ethic.

Over the decades, Ledwell grew from adapting customers’ trucks and trailers to manufacturing custom bodies and trailers, along with providing parts and service. Businesses know they can rely on Ledwell to find innovative, efficient, and reliable solutions to problems no other manufacturer can solve. This reputation for quality and service was no accident.

The company culture Buddy Ledwell built has fueled the creativity, dedication, and talent of several generations of workers, each one working every day to keep Buddy’s legacy of hard work alive.

Ledwell Employees Enjoy a Family Night at the Fair

Thanks to all of the Ledwell employees who submitted photos of themselves and their families at the fair!

Art Lasanta

For international sales manager Art Lasanta, Ledwell wasn’t his first experience working with trucks.

“I started off in this industry,” he said. “My first job around trucks was in rebuilding transmissions and rear ends. That led to dismantling trucks for the guys who rebuilt them, and then I ran the scrap yard where we dismantled trucks for resale.”

Art Lasanta, top row, third from left

Art’s work at the scrap yard led him to sales.

“Because of my Spanish capabilities, I just started selling stuff,” he said. “Then I moved on to selling garbage trucks for 20 years.”

Here at Ledwell, Art is the sales representative for most international clients. He said large feed companies in Mexico make up the majority of his sales, but he has sold trucks worldwide—the Caribbean, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, and more.

“I travel around a lot of small, unusual places,” he said. “I’m usually in a small agricultural town that’s out in the country. It’s interesting to see Mexico outside of the large cities.”

One unusual place he has sold a Ledwell truck is the Island of Montserrat.

“It’s a British colony in the Caribbean,” he said. “A volcano destroyed half of the island about ten years ago, so now only about 4,000 people are living on the island. I sold their public works department a vacuum truck for the island’s septic system.”

Art said connecting with others is his favorite thing about working for Ledwell.

“I love getting to meet new people and maintaining contacts with employees, being part of the team, and building relationships with the customers,” he said. “Getting to know them and working with them over the years, you form a friendship, a bond. That’s the most enjoyable part of my job, other than the moment you make the sale.”

The best career lesson Art has learned so far: just keep going.

“Keep moving forward,” he said. “You can’t worry about what already happened. You’ve got to pop your head up and move forward; don’t stop.”

Art and his wife live in Lakeland, Florida. They have five adult children and 11 grandkids. In his spare time, Art enjoys being handy around the yard and enjoying outdoor life in Central Florida—kayaking, fishing, and camping. Most of his coworkers don’t know this, but Art is an advanced scuba diver, though he doesn’t have a chance to dive often.

He said his personal motto is simple: be nice to people.

“I enjoy what I do,” Art said. “Interacting with the people and the customers—it’s been a great experience.”

Texarkana College Internship Program Gives Student Welders On-the-Job Experience

Welding intern Hunt Mercier in front of the feedbody shop

When the pandemic negatively impacted Hunt Mercier’s photography business, he started thinking about going back to school.

“My parents were trying to push me to go to medical school, and I was like, ‘Nope, I’ve already been to university once,'” he said. “So I started thinking about trades. I always knew I needed to do something more physical than sitting behind a desk.”

Welding intern Hunt Mercier in front of the feedbody shop

That led Hunt, who has a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Mississippi and a background as a news photographer, to the welding certification program at Texarkana College.

“My family has a history with welding,” he said. “My great-uncle was an underwater welder in World War II, and my great-grandfather started his own tool and die business,” he said. “I’ve always liked being hands-on. I chose welding because I wanted a profession that allowed me to express myself artistically outside of work tied in with my passion for photography.”

Thanks to a partnership between Ledwell and Texarkana College, Hunt has been able to earn his welding degree while working as an intern in Ledwell’s Feedbody Shop. TC welding coordinator Jill Yates said the Ledwell internship program is the first of its kind in the two-year community college’s welding department.

“The main issue we’ve run into when trying to help our students get internships is that companies want to wait until the students graduate so they can work full-time,” Jill said. “We’ve always had people who worked, but we would usually switch them to the night class if they got a full-time job. We didn’t want to get into a place where the students had to choose between going to work and going to school, and Ledwell didn’t want that either.”

The paid internship program allows for skilled students who have shown good attendance, maintained a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and demonstrated a professional work ethic to work at Ledwell while attending class a limited amount of time each week, depending on what semester of the welding program they’re in. Students can begin earning income and applying their welding skills in the real world while completing their certifications.

“Skill is the number one thing that I’m looking for when recommending students for the program,” Jill said. “After that, it has to be attitude. If they show up on time, they’re always prepared, they’re ready and eager to learn new things, and they jump in to help without being asked; those are the students I’m looking for. When they walk in the door of any business, we want to make sure that they’re the kind of person with a head on their shoulders that’s willing to learn whatever it is that the company needs them to do.”

Hunt said the internship program helped factor into his decision to attend TC.

“After talking to Jill, the first thing I asked her after I said I was interested in coming to TC for welding was, ‘How hard is it for me to get a job after I get a degree?'” he said. “She said, ‘You can get a job before you even graduate.’ And she was right.”

Brock Foster, a welder in Ledwell’s Trailer Shop, graduated from TC in 2020 with his one-year certificate in welding. He started learning welding as a dual credit student in high school, then worked at Ledwell as part of the internship program throughout his second and third semesters.

“This was a great opportunity to get real-world experience early so that I don’t have to wait to earn a good income,” he said.

Hunt said he values the on-the-job experience he has gained during the internship program.

“This is a great place to get your feet wet and really experience what the real world is like,” he said. “Seeing how things are manufactured at a large scale has been really cool. There’s only so much you can learn in the classroom that prepares you for a job, but once you get out there, the difference is night and day.”

Jill said that TC and Ledwell are observing and adjusting the program as it progresses, and she hopes to create a model she can follow with other employers.

“The main thing for the employer is the ability to have the local, homegrown skill, that labor force that’s right here in the area,” she said. “Ledwell knows that our interns will come in knowing the basics of welding and metallurgy—that’s less time Ledwell has to focus on how you hold the gun, all of those little things our students learn how to do.”

Sarah Carpenter, Ledwell community outreach coordinator, said Ledwell has the opportunity to gain seasoned employees from the program.

“Anytime you get hands-on experience, it’s going to help you learn more than just a textbook,” she said. “If they finish the program and they’re in good standing, we can hopefully hire them on as an employee. Then they’re a skilled worker, and they come in knowing about who we are, our culture, and our people. It takes away some of that learning curve.”

James Beard

Ledwell Employee Spotlight James Beard

When you work as a team you can accomplish any task. 

“Anything that comes through our bay, we can get it done,” said James Beard, who has worked at Ledwell since 2004.

James has worked on a variety of equipment since beginning his career at Ledwell. He has built everything from dump trucks to bulk haul feed bodies. 

“It just comes naturally over the years,” he said. 

James said there are times when something unusual or new comes through the shop, creating an opportunity to expand his knowledge.

 “One of the most challenging projects I’ve had was a snowplow and dump truck combo,” he said. “There were lots of valves in tight places. We had to use special tools to tighten them all.”

James and his wife of 15 years enjoy traveling to festivals and camping with their 16-year-old son. He is an avid runner who often enters local 5K runs. In fact, you might even see him running around the facility during his lunch break.

James said family and church are where he finds peace. 

“Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said.

Ledwell Employee Spotlight James Beard

Booth Machinery: Supporting Agricultural Customers During Challenging Times

Booth Machinery delivery

Most businesses experience slow spells from time to time. Booth Machinery, which focuses on sales and rentals to agricultural customers in Arizona and California, is an exception to that rule.

“Our customers farm vegetables, orchards, vineyards—they farm year-round,” said Bobby Creason, President and CEO of Booth Machinery. “We put a high amount of hours on the equipment we provide these folks. It’s always moving. It’s very important that they have their tractors, water trucks, or whatever they need at their fingertips at all times.”

Booth Machinery started as a single location in Yuma, Arizona, more than 30 years ago. It originally opened in the 1940s under the name Caldwell Equipment, and it has served customers in California and Arizona for nearly eight decades. Over the past seven years, Booth Machinery has expanded into seven different counties in California through acquisition.

“Our agricultural customers are running every day of the year,” Bobby said. “This isn’t your typical row crop farm, where they farm part of the year. It’s going all the time.”

He said the COVID-19 pandemic created new and unexpected challenges for his customers. 

“Just imagine that you sold lettuce and your main customers are schools and or restaurants,” Bobby said. “One day, you wake up, and those businesses are closed. What do you do? You can’t just change your packaging overnight. That really presented a bit of a challenge for our customers. Some were able to adjust and come out on top.”

One thing is for sure, according to Bobby: the Booth Machinery team stepped up.

“I’m extremely proud of our team for staying in the workplace as essential workers,” he said. “It goes without saying how important ag is to the entire world. It’s not something that could have just stopped. I’m extremely proud of our team and the steps we took to stay open following CDC’s guidance for social distancing and masking.”

When it comes to agriculture, having dependable equipment, such as water trucks, is crucial.

“One particular challenge our California customers have is drought,” Bobby said. “They have to transfer water, and they also need to be able to get the ground wet to transplant products such as tomatoes. Dust control is also big out here. There are so many things water trucks are used for.”

Bobby said he has been buying Ledwell Water Trucks for 15 years, starting at his previous jobs in Hawaii and Colorado.

“These sales didn’t go through some big fleet manager,” he said. “It has been me personally dealing with Lesley and Steve [Ledwell]. The challenges we face with lead time, quality, and post-sale support—Lesley and Steve have always taken care of me.” 

That’s why Ledwell has an excellent reputation in the West, according to Ledwell Regional Manager Mike Brackins. Mike has represented Ledwell in the West for the past two years.

“I remember the first time I visited with Steve,” Mike said. “I’d been on board for a month. There was a minor issue, and he was ready to move heaven and earth to get it fixed. Our service, compared to our competitors, is unparalleled. Ledwell will make it right.”

Booth Machinery both rents and sells Ledwell Water Trucks. Bobby said Ledwell’s tough build and swift support have made a good impression on his customers.

“When we need something, we get it, and we get it fast,” he said. “We feel like we’ve got a lot of up-front support, as well as the parts and service side post-purchase. For some of our parts and service, we’re dependent on the dealers that handle the chassis, but I’ve always appreciated Ledwell’s ability to nudge those folks at times to help get us moving.”

He said there are less expensive water trucks and manufacturers that are closer to the market where they’re needed, but they don’t provide the value and support that Ledwell does.

“A cheap deal to me is only good until you need help, or you need availability, or you need trucks that are built and ready to go,” Bobby said. “Ledwell brings us so much value. We get the right advice up front. We get market intel. We talk about the different options we need on the truck. We get support afterwards, and communication throughout.”

He said the relationship, quality, and immediate support if you do have a problem presents a good value for Booth Machinery.

“The only problem I ever had was not listening to Ledwell and letting me buy the wrong trucks years ago,” Bobby said. “A topic that still comes up from time to time with people who had to work through those challenges.”

A cheap deal to me is only good until you need help, or you need availability, or you need trucks that are built and ready to go. Ledwell brings us so much value. We get the right advice up front. We get market intel. We talk about the different options we need on the truck. We get support afterwards, and communication throughout.

Bobby CreasonPresident & CEO, Booth Machinery

Custom Truck Design Helps Wholesale Electric Speed Up Daily Deliveries

The Company

Wholesale Electric is a Texarkana-based family-owned electric wholesaler that has grown to 59 branches and counting since it was opened in 1947.

The Challenge

Box trucks and stake bed trucks with tarps were inconvenient and time consuming to load and unload, and they didn’t adequately protect products from rain and moisture.

The Solution

The patent pending Ledwell Gull Wing, a truck custom designed for electric wholesalers with aluminum sides that lift with the push of a button. The Gull Wing can be loaded from the sides via forklift and protects products from rain and moisture.

The Outcome

Wholesale Electric now has nine Gull Wings in their fleet that make multiple deliveries per day. On average, the Gull Wing saves 30 minutes to one hour of loading and unloading time per work day.

“We sell electrical distribution—so, as I like to describe it, anything from the light to the switch and everything in between, we sell. One thing that sets us apart from the competition is that we run trucks to every branch every single day.”

Chris McCullochVice President, Wholesale Electric

The Company

Wholesale Electric, a family-owned electric wholesaler that has grown to 59 branches and counting since it was opened in 1947.

When Amos McCulloch Sr. opened Wholesale Electric Supply in 1947, he intended to run just the one store in Texarkana, Texas.

“My grandfather and grandmother started Wholesale Electric Supply,” said Chris McCulloch, Vice President. “My grandfather was the warehouse manager, counter sales, inside sales and delivery. My grandmother was the accountant. They started the company together, and when they started having children, she stayed home, and he kept the business going.”

More than seven decades later, Wholesale Electric has grown to 59 branches and counting in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Missouri. Second and third-generation McCullochs provide the company’s leadership. They serve customers in the residential, commercial, industrial, and utility fields. 

 “We sell electrical distribution—so, as I like to describe it, anything from the light to the switch and everything in between, we sell,” Chris said. “One thing that sets us apart from the competition is that we run trucks to every branch every single day.”

At 4 a.m., Chris said, trucks leave Little Rock and Texarkana to deliver inventory to each one of the company’s 59 branches.

“The way we look at our inventory is that it isn’t just one branch’s inventory,” Chris said. “It’s Wholesale’s inventory. So unless it has already been sold, everybody in the company is entitled to that inventory. Some companies sell materials to their branches—we do not do that.”

If one of their branches needs something, they all work together to ensure that branch gets it.

“If Little Rock has something and Dallas needs it, they might meet in Texarkana,” Chris said. “That’s just our mindset. “When a customer calls on a Saturday night, our people answer the phone and make sure they are taken care of–even if that means making an out of town delivery on a Sunday morning.” 

“For us, obviously, electrical and water don't mix very well. Or actually, they mix too well. That's the problem. And we can't use box or van-style trucks because of conduit. It's tough to load 10 feet of conduit from a forklift to the back of a box truck.”

Chris McCullochVice President, Wholesale Electric
Wholesale Electric Gull Wing

The Challenge

Box trucks and stake bed trucks with tarps were inconvenient and time consuming to load and unload, and they didn’t adequately protect products from rain and moisture.

Over the decades, the Wholesale Electric team has tried different methods of shipping products to each branch. 

For 25 years, their solution for keeping their products dry was to use stake bed trucks and tarps. Each time they had to load or unload, they would remove the rails from one side of the truck, secure a heavy tarp, and then put the rails back. Chris said the rails were heavy and prone to breaking, and the tarps were expensive and didn’t always provide adequate protection from moisture.

“It’s very easy on a two or three-hour drive for a tarp to get loose and start flapping,” he said. “And in a heavy downpour, a tarp is not going to cover everything.”

The Solution

The patent pending Ledwell Gull Wing, a truck custom designed for electric wholesalers with aluminum sides that lift with the push of a button. The Gull Wing can be loaded from the sides via forklift and protects products from rain and moisture.

Buddy McCulloch—the company’s president and Chris’s father—started looking for a better way to transport products to Wholesale Electric’s branches. He found it on a cocktail napkin. 

Buddy had known Steve Ledwell his entire life. Wholesale Electric and Ledwell & Son had grown alongside each other since both companies were founded by Buddy’s and Steve’s fathers after World War II. One evening, they sat at the bar of a local restaurant, Twisted Fork, and discussed Wholesale Electric’s transportation challenges. 

“They drew it up on a cocktail napkin,” Chris said. “That’s the story.”

Wholesale Electric’s team’s requirements included 24 feet of internal loadable space, the capacity to load six 4-foot pallets on each side, opening on the sides, and protection from moisture.

The result? A truck bed with hinged aluminum sides that lift and lower with the push of a button thanks to a central hydraulic system.

“Working with our customer, we produced several early trucks that were essentially R&D,” said John Crisp, Ledwell Regional Manager. “They’re all different—we tested the cylinders, lifted the doors at different angles, used different hinges, a different waterproofing system. We built this with a lighter structure, but still tough. In the delivery business, the trucks are stressed to their limit every day.”

Chris said the Gull Wing’s lifting aluminum sides were a game-changer for Wholesale Electric. 

“When you have that 4 a.m. truck and you’re having to unload, re-load, then tarp everything down and put the rails back on—well, now we just open the Gull Wing and load it up from the side,” he said. “Unloading is quick and easy. You open it up, and the forklift pulls the material off. We can’t load conduit from a forklift to the back of a box truck, and the rail trucks were so cumbersome to load and unload and had the added expense of replacing the tarps. The Gull Wing is the best of both worlds.”

“Ultimately, I know that with one single text or phone call to Ledwell, I can get whatever I need done, done. That matters more to me than anything else.”

Chris McCullochVice President, Wholesale Electric
Wholesale Electric Gull Wing Truck

The Outcome

Wholesale Electric now has nine Gull Wings in their fleet that make multiple deliveries per day. On average, the Gull Wing saves 30 minutes to one hour of loading and unloading time per work day.

“If you think about it, that’s a lot of time over a year for nine trucks,” he said. “Thirty minutes to an hour per truck per day is a huge advantage for us. We’re not having to stay until 6-7 p.m. loading these trucks. Time is the most valuable thing out there. Whatever can save time and get things quicker is always going to be what we choose.” 

He said speeding up the delivery process makes it easier for Wholesale Electric to fulfill their customers’ needs.

“We want to be known for providing the best service,” he said. “Electrical suppliers all sell the same stuff. What matters most is, do we have it? And can we get it to you quickly with a smile on our face?”

The Gull Wing doesn’t require a CDL to drive, which Chris said makes it easier to hire drivers. And unlike tarps, the aluminum sides can be wrapped with vinyl, turning them into moving billboards.

“They’re excellent advertisement,” said Blaire Barlow, Wholesale’s Marketing Director. “One of our locations is on a road that gets about 180,000 cars per day. So when we aren’t using it, we park it right in front of our building. It’s an outstanding billboard.”

Wholesale Electric has recently expanded into the Dallas/Fort Worth market, and the company has seen significant growth over the last decade, Chris said.

He said Ledwell has been a valuable resource for Wholesale Electric since the beginning. 

 “My granddad was a longtime resident, and Mr. Ledwell was a longtime Texarkana resident,” Chris said. “My father and Steve grew up here, and I went to high school with the Ledwell kids. This is three generations of family business working alongside each other.”

But the companies’ shared history isn’t the only reason Wholesale Electric continues to buy Ledwell trucks.

“Ultimately, I know that with one single text or phone call to Ledwell, I can get whatever I need done, done,” Chris said. “That matters more to me than anything else.”

Do you have a unique, custom truck or trailer need? We'll help you find a solution! Submit the form or call us at 888-533-9355 to get started.

Mark Van Herpen, CFO

Ledwell Employee Spotlight - Mark Van Herpen

Mark Van Herpen, Ledwell’s Chief Financial Officer, has been at Ledwell for 11 years.

“My favorite thing about Ledwell is that you never know what’s going to happen next,” he said. “I love being here, and I feel honored that I’ve had the privilege to come to work here.”

Ledwell Employee Spotlight - Mark Van Herpen

Before working at Ledwell, Mark served as CFO for a real estate management company that owned malls across the country. Transitioning to the manufacturing industry presented a steep learning curve.

“I didn’t know anything about manufacturing,” he said. “I just listened and learned. The most important thing I’ve learned here is that, as a company, we solve all problems.”

Mark said he loves college and professional sports, especially the L.A. Dodgers, L.A. Rams, and L.A. Lakers. Though he was raised in Arkansas, he was born in L.A., and his dad’s favorite teams rubbed off on him. He kicked off his career in finance by earning a degree in accounting from Arkansas Tech University.

Mark’s passion lies in charity work, and he supports many nonprofit organizations.

“I’m most passionate about the Alzheimer’s Alliance, which presents the Twice as Fine Texarkana Wine Festival each year,” he said. “I’ve seen how Alzheimer’s disease affects families. Proceeds from the festival benefit our local respite center, which gives families of Alzheimer’s patients a much-needed break.”

Along with his wife Cathy, Mark serves on the Alzheimer’s Alliance board. Cathy and Mark have served as chairs of the wine festival since it began six years ago.