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Fall 2022

Nuts & Bolts: Taught Well With Ledwell

 

Ledwell is known for manufacturing truck bodies and trailers, but the company also collaborates with schools in the Texarkana area.

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Hanor Company Keeps the Port Industry Moving

 

What started as a single 1000-sow farrow-to-finish operation—which includes all stages of pork production from breeding to market—has expanded to seven states and now sells 1.4 million market hogs each year.

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Featured Employee: Gary Gathright, Engineer

 

His dream of becoming an engineer had been a dream since childhood. Gary Gathright started his career at Ledwell in 1998, a couple of years after graduating from Louisiana Tech.

 

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Deduction & Depreciation – Tax Incentive

 

Are you taking advantage of Section 179? Businesses can deduct the total purchase price of qualifying equipment during the tax year…

 

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Manufacturing the Future

 

Ledwell is expanding! An additional 66,000 square feet of manufacturing space will be added to the existing 12 acres of space under roof.

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2023 Events

CRA Rental Rally

January 23 – 25

IPPE

January 24 – 26

ARA Rental Show

February 12 – 15

ConEx

March 14 – 18

 

Stay in the know with the Ledwell Newsletter.

Don’t miss out on the latest innovations and happenings. Stay in the loop with the Ledwell newsletter.

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Manufacturing the Future

Ledwell is expanding!

An additional 66,000 square feet of manufacturing space will be added to the existing 12 acres of space under roof.

To support growing industries, the company’s new state-of-the-art facility will offer the flexibility to fabricate, produce, or enhance machinery. Ledwell hopes to increase production efficiency by creating 100 or more jobs and adding more automation with the expansion.

“The expanded building is not just adding production capacity for our customers; it is also a strategic step toward enhancing our skilled workforce with innovative manufacturing technologies and advancements in automation, robotic welding, and material handling, “ says Michael Hawkins, Director of Operations.

Ledwell is known to meet customer challenges with innovative solutions – this time, the solution is a brand-new shop with endless possibilities.

Hanor Company Keeps the Pork Industry Moving with Ledwell Bulk Feed Trailers

Here in America, we love our pork. 

We eat an average of 264 pounds of meat per person each year, and 67 of those pounds are pork products. Back in 1978 when Hanor Company’s roots in commercial pig productions started, the average person ate just 191 pounds of meat per year. As demand for pork grew, so did pork farms across the country.

What started as a single 1000-sow farrow-to-finish operation—which includes all stages of pork production from breeding to market—has expanded to seven states and now sells 1.4 million market hogs each year. 

Hanor Company now has farms in Wisconsin, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Iowa, and Illinois, and their genetic breeding program supports an integrated pig production system that processes 9 million pigs annually. Neal Jordan, transportation environmental manager for Hanor Companies in North Carolina, said it simply: “We raise pigs for a living.” Jordan, one of the company’s 650+ employees, has been at Hanor for 20 years. 

Raising pigs is anything but simple, though. In July, Hanor veterinarian Jon Tangen told FarmJournal’s Pork that the industry faces global threats like African swine fever and the war in Ukraine with Russia impacting grain prices and thus impacting the cost to raise meat. 

Despite global challenges and those that hit closer to home—like inflation, oil prices, and finding and retaining employees—Hanor Companies employees are dedicated to maintaining high standards when it comes to their hogs. Hanor supports the Pork Checkoff’s We Care initiative, which includes acknowledging a farm’s responsibility to produce safe food, protect and promote animal wellbeing, and ensure practices to protect public health.

“It’s of our utmost interest to make sure our pigs are well taken care of the entirety of their lifetime, until we utilize them for a nutritious protein source to feed our neighbors,” Tangen told FarmJournal’s Pork in July.

Tough bulk feed trailers with high standards for safety, sanitation and biosecurity are key in the pork industry. And while farms spent roughly 60 percent of the cost of raising pigs on feed in 2017, farmers have seen those prices jump to 70%-80% over the past few years.

That makes efficiency in feed transportation even more important. 

“I’ve been here 20 years, and Ledwell bulk feed trailers were here before me,” Jordan said. He said he’s still running a 1996 Ledwell trailer in his fleet. “Usually one that’s pulled every day, 300-400 miles a day, I try to move them out of the fleet in about 12-13 years.”

In North Carolina, Jordan is responsible for managing a fleet of about 10 tractors and 30 trailers. With skyrocketing feed costs, they have to choose transportation equipment that reduces waste and lets them get the most out of their feed.

“Ledwell bulk feed trailers are good equipment,” he said. “They’re reliable, not expensive to maintain. They’re always willing to help. They always make accommodations for what we need.” 

Ledwell works with Hanor to customize their stock bulk feed trailer with modifications specific to the needs of Hanor’s farms.

In a business with lots of rough gravel roads that can be harsh on even the best equipment, drivers don’t have time for downtime. 

“If we have a major breakdown, Ledwell is normally Johnny-on-the-spot as far as getting us what we need to get the repair done,” Jordan said. Ledwell can respond quickly to those requests because they manufacture more than 80% of their parts in-house, meaning they don’t have to wait on other suppliers. 

That’s by design. The Ledwell Made Guarantee, which backs every product, promises swift support that helps you get back to work quickly and tough-built products that last for decades with proper maintenance. 

And that’s exactly the kind of equipment that Hanor Company, one of the nation’s premier pork producers, needs to keep producing safe food for our communities.

Taught Well With Ledwell

High school intern shooting video for Ledwell

New backpacks, clean shoes, and unopened packs of pencils indicate a new school year as much as the waxed campus floors and the straight rows of unmarked desks do. It is that time of year again—the beginning of fall semester. The newness will certainly wear off, but hopefully, the learning that will occur has a more lasting impact.

As the summer heat persists, students and teachers settle into a year of preparation for the future. Students’ rigorous school schedules might include algebra, chemistry, a foreign language, or Ledwell.

Ledwell is known for manufacturing truck bodies and trailers, but the company also collaborates with schools in the Texarkana area. Sarah Carpenter, Ledwell’s Community Outreach Director, explains, “We’ve worked hard these past few years to create long-term partnerships with organizations and schools within our community.” The goal for this involvement aims to bring awareness about programs that teach important technical, employment, and business skills essential to life after graduation.

High school intern shooting video for Ledwell

In addition to hosting and participating in a multitude of facility tours and career fairs yearly, Ledwell provides internships to high-school students who are interested in exploring their future vocation options. “Internships give [students] the option of skipping the phase of moving from job to job” when deciding on a career path straight after senior year, according to foreman Brad Stringer. Offered during the summer and the school year, internships also “build a potential base of future employees… and a stronger workforce for Ledwell and our surrounding area” Stringer continues.

“Ledwell is currently our largest internship/job placement partner, and we are excited about the opportunity to continue expanding our internship offerings [to] audio/video production students, graphic designers, business students, or any other entry-level [students]…at Ledwell,” states Jennifer Gibson, the Career and Technical Education Director at PGHS. A proud mother shares that her son “is on course for a very promising future, thanks to the collaborative efforts of both of these organizations.”

“We’ve worked hard this past year to create long-term partnerships with organizations and schools within our community. It’s important to provide another option for
students who may not attend college after high school.
Our goal is to fill gaps and for students to gain knowledge
of the opportunities right here in Texarkana.”

Sarah CarpenterCommunity Outreach Director

Interns agree that their coworkers’ patience and willingness to help have greatly impacted their experiences and work ethic at the company. Because of the on-site learning opportunities, one former student of the PGHS CTE program expresses that he is particularly proud of how far his welding skills have progressed at Ledwell. Another intern, Olivia Perry, has combined her love of accounting with a “newfound respect for mechanics” as she navigates the inner workings of a business like Ledwell. “I want to be ready and prepared for a career after I get out of college, and I think being an intern is showing me what a serious job environment looks like.”

Middle and high schools can tour the Betty and Buddy Ledwell Workforce Training Center at Texarkana College to discover other options locally besides going the traditional college route post-graduation. The site includes programs in construction technology, industrial maintenance, and other workforce trades. Admitted high-school graduates can attend day or night classes taught by experts in the field at the state-of-the-art Training Center. Upon completion of the program, participants go into the professional workforce having technical skills and strong work ethic, making them highly sought after by employers.

Ledwell’s educational outreach and partnership with local schools, in Gibson’s words, are “a way of bringing students and businesses together to fill a need for a business and launch students into the workforce to begin their next phase of life after high-school graduation.” With its outreach with local schools, Ledwell shapes more than metal—it shapes futures.

Gary Gathright

His dream of becoming an engineer had been a dream since childhood. Gary Gathright started his career at Ledwell in 1998, a couple of years after graduating from Louisiana Tech.

He began alongside Bob Nolte, Ledwell’s lead engineer at the time, who provided him with a wealth of knowledge over the years. He was an inspiration to Gary, “Bob always wanted to make things better. He probably forgot more about engineering than I knew.”

Gary works on a variety of projects each day, ranging from Vaccum Tanks to HydraTail Trailers. His challenge is also what makes his job so unique.

“We don’t manufacture ten million of one thing. We manufacture lots of different things. We have a niche in the industry that others don’t,” Gary explained.

Ledwell has met customers’ needs since day one, which sometimes makes for an exciting day.

When asked what his favorite project has been over the years, he could not just pick one – he had a top five. The projects ranged from the HydraTilt Truck to Feed Trailers for New Zealand customers, where the boom and controls were on the opposite side of the trailer, to plant facilities.

The one project he was most passionate about was the Gull Wing. Gary was involved in the project from design through improvements and obtaining a patent.

A lot of our improvements are customer-driven.” Gary said, “We incorporate those not just into a unit for that particular customer, but into the unit as a whole, so we ultimately improve our entire product line.”

Gary loves to cook, tinker around his 1970 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, and spend time with family and friends when not working. He also volunteers for many organizations, including Alzheimer’s Alliance Tri-State and Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council (TRAHC). “My dad was an amazing example of leadership and service to others in the community. I try to emulate that by helping those organizations near and dear to my heart.”

Deduction & Depreciation – 2022 Tax Incentive

Are you taking advantage of Section 179? Businesses can deduct the total purchase price of qualifying equipment during the tax year under this part of the IRS tax code. The U.S. government created the Section 179 deduction to encourage companies to invest in themselves.

You can deduct the total purchase price from your gross income if you purchase a piece of equipment. Equipment must be purchased or financed and put into service by December 31, 2022, To qualify for the Section179 deduction.

 Several tools and educational materials are available on the Section179 website to help determine what qualifies.

There is even a Section179 calculator to help you figure out your potential deduction for the 2022 tax year. Follow the prompts and enter your equipment cost, from software to bulk haul trailers, to determine your deduction and lowered equipment cost after tax savings.

 Additionally, bonus depreciation allows 100% depreciation on new and used equipment, including custom manufactured equipment by Ledwell.

Don’t wait! By purchasing or financing equipment in 2022, you can claim a deduction for these items under the existing bonus depreciation rules.

 Any truck bodies or trailers we manufacture at Ledwell qualify for this deduction. To order yours today, contact our sales team or browse our site.

Lane Burnett

Since 1995, Lane Burnett has worked at Ledwell in the Feedbody Shop. Initially, he repaired feed trailers that had come in for repair. 

After about five years of working in the repair shop, he began manufacturing new trailers and feed bodies from the ground up.

“I was excited to build something completely different,” Lane recalled the all-steel feedbody he built for a customer in 1998.

“The body was a unique shape and didn’t have any doors. Mr. Ledwell said it was the fastest feed truck ever. I’m not sure how true that was, but I believed him.”

Lane has transitioned into a training role in the Feedbody Shop over the past few years. His objective is to teach new employees how to construct feed equipment from start to finish with pride.

In the course of his career, Lane has learned many lessons from Buddy Ledwell, including responsibility. 

“I try to instill this responsibility in the next generation. It can be challenging to teach the upcoming crew what hard work means, but I try to remember what Mr. Ledwell would tell me, ‘Son, at least I know you’re workin’ if you messed it up,'” Lane said.

Lane has been married for 22 years to his wife, Diane. Their family includes two boys and two grandchildren. His favorite activities include hunting deer with a bow or rifle and fishing when he isn’t instilling the Ledwell legacy in the next generation of employees.

Troy McDuff

Troy McDuff enjoys the challenge of working on different assignments each day in the Tank Shop, where he has worked since he began at Ledwell in 2010.

He started welding hydraulic tanks together and has since moved to welding subframes for Ledwell Vacuum Trucks.

“It’s nice to have a little variety. I sometimes assemble tailgates or kingpins during peak season,” said Troy.

Patience is the most important lesson he has learned at Ledwell.

Throughout the years, he has worked alongside different people and has set an example of a good work ethic for his new colleagues.

Troy has two wonderful children with his wife, Deana. He enjoys spending time at ball fields watching his grandchildren play America’s favorite pastime.

He donates plasma and platelets several times a year. “It’s quite a neat process,” Troy explained that the blood is drawn and spun around to extract the plasma, “I love to give back and have several t-shirts from donating.”

In his own words, he describes himself as reliable. His actions embody one of our core values, grit. He works hard and gets the work done. He is a dedicated employee who always delivers. We are happy to have him on our team.

Summer 2022

Ledwell Newsletter Summer 2022 - sign up for the Nuts & Bolts

Nuts & Bolts: Strategic Partnership Helps Companies Grow Together

 

With 24 dealerships in eight states, Lonestar Truck Group isn’t your average truck dealership.

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Ledwell Joins the Stellar Distributor Network

 

Ledwell is excited to announce it is now a part of the distribution network for Stellar Industries, an employee-owned and operated manufacturer of high-quality service trucks.

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Featured Employee: Cliff Harvin, Trailer Shop Foreman

 

Cliff Harvin believes that having a mindset to learn a trade skill is only half of the equation.

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ASME Certification Continues

 

In 1916 ASME began its program for certification to companies in the pressure equipment industry.

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Ledwell Made Mission & Values

 

At Ledwell, the mission is simple: manufacturing tough, innovative equipment that moves you forward.

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Congratulations to our 2022 retirees!

 

Thank you for everything each of you has done over the years. Your dedication is appreciated.
We wish you a happy retirement.

Jim Greger, 17 years, IT

Mike Harris, 42 years, Feedbody Shop

Chuck Kift, 22 years, Vacuum Tank QA

Andy Squillante, 11 years, Hydraulics

Tereso Tenorio, 15 years, Feedbody Shop

Roberto Torres, 31 years, Truck Shop

Expanding into the Future

 

As part of our continuous improvement, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our time on tasks. With the addition of a HAAS ST 45L Lathe to our Machine Shop, we can machine more sizeable parts than ever before. Our cylinder manufacturing process is now more efficient and productive due to this lathe.

 

Stay in the know with the Ledwell Newsletter.

Don’t miss out on the latest innovations and happenings. Stay in the loop with the Ledwell newsletter.

Send me the Nuts & Bolts

ASME Certification Continues

Ledwell continues ASME certification

In 1916 ASME began its program for certification to companies in the pressure equipment industry. This program was developed to certify quality control systems for the design, fabrication, assembly, and inspection of boiler and pressure vessel components during construction.

Products manufactured by ASME BPVC certificate holders include a certification mark in accordance with the applicable certified section also known as a “U” stamp. A company can also be certified to make repairs or alterations to pressure vessels under the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors under an “R” stamp.

Ledwell began building pressure vessels, or in our case DOT Cargo Tanks, in the spring of 2010. This past May, we successfully completed our 5th joint review for ASME and National Board certification.

The purpose of the review is to evaluate the quality program and ensure the implementation for each product manufactured for fabrication, alterations, and repairs. Each assessment ensures the applicant’s quality program is implemented successfully and complies with requirements based on the ASME standard.

Certificates are granted after a review of the previous 36 months of work, verification of record-keeping requirements, personnel training, and required knowledge of pressure vessel design and fabrication rules.

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