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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.”

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.

Shane “Lefty” Miller

If you mentioned Shane Miller at Ledwell, the most likely response is, “Who is Shane?”.

As most Ledwell employees call him, Lefty attended Texarkana College to pursue a welding certification. He used that knowledge when he began his career 20 years ago.

He worked in the Truck Shop the first few years, installing PTOs and rebuilding rebuilt transmissions. Lefty has been driving CDL trucks and delivering equipment to our customers for the last decade.

“I enjoy a good surprise, and my job is like that. I don’t always know where I’m off to each week, but I know it will make a customer happy to see me,” he said about what motivates him to get up and go to work.

Lefty has been married for 21 years to Mary, the love of his life. There are six children and ten grandchildren between the two of them. He loves to spend time antiquing whenever he’s home, especially in Jefferson, Texas.

His dad would always say, “If you take care of the minutes, the hours will take care of themselves.” That has stuck with Lefty over the years. He tries to live those words out each day, from his pre-trip inspection to driving and unloading equipment from trailers.

Cliff Harvin

According to Cliff Harvin, the mindset to learn a trade skill is only half of what you need for success.

As he put it, “You will be more motivated to succeed in a trade such as welding when you put your heart into it.”

In fact, Cliff put his heart into Ledwell over 25 years ago when he embarked on his career.

Initially, he worked in our Trailer Shop, manufacturing multiple components for our HydraTail Trailers.

Following that, he detoured to the Maintenance Department before returning to the Trailer Shop, where he’s currently the foreman.

“Mr. Ledwell knew I had experience in roofing, so when the Maintenance Department needed help replacing the roof on one of the shops, he sent me to help. I stayed in Maintenance for three years until Mr. Ledwell said I was better in the Trailer Shop and moved back.”

His motivation to get up and work each day comes from knowing that there is a different puzzle to solve each day.

Throughout his time as a foreman, he has developed better people skills. In the last year and a half, he has learned how to communicate with other departments and be a leader.

One of his favorite experiences was building a home for the children at Watersprings Ranch. “I am happy to give back whenever I can to those kids or any great organization.”

Cliff has been married for 13 years to Stephanie. The couple has three daughters, a son, and eight grandchildren.

In addition to his job, Cliff serves as the Constable for his county district. When not working, Cliff enjoys fishing and hunting whenever they are in season.

Lee Cecil

Ledwell Employee Spotlight - April 2022_Ledwell Machinery
Ledwell Employee Spotlight - April 2022

Long before he began working for Ledwell, Lee Cecil was part of the Ledwell family. 

His father has worked at Ledwell since he was a kid, so he was familiar with the company’s ins and outs long before he became an employee.

Taking his dad’s lead, in 2011, Lee began his career at Ledwell in the Maintenance Department. 

Later, he moved to building flatbeds and installing various truck bodies in the Truck Shop.

Our sister company, Ledwell Machinery, was his last stop, where he was responsible for service and maintenance on Bobcat equipment. 

Lee recently moved into equipment sales at Ledwell Machinery. 

Bringing awareness to Ledwell Machinery’s products and services is what he does during a typical day. Traveling throughout Bowie, Cass, Miller, and Little River County, offering his knowledge and expertise on Bobcat equipment to help the needs of people in the industry. 

“Getting to meet new people and watch their business grow is my favorite part of my day,” he said.

Lee and his wife of almost five years, Krystal, will welcome their first child later this year. His favorite pastime is deer hunting and camping.  

He describes himself as motivated, committed, and a positive individual. “Every day, I strive for greatness and compete with myself to get better.”

Ledwell is honored to have Lee on our team! We thank him for all he has done to make Ledwell Machinery the most successful it can be.

William Sexton

One of Ledwell’s longest-serving employees, William Sexton, began his career in the spring of 1986. 

The Feedbody Shop is where he began his career, where he has made bulk haul feed trailers from start to finish a dozen times over.

William explains, “We built feed boxes, keels, skins, and pretty much everything else on a single trailer when I first started working at Ledwell. We build so many trailers today that we needed a dedicated person to construct the feed trailer parts.”

Currently, he is one of those dedicated parts manufacturers. On most days, William makes various pieces, including step and valve boxes. 

He recalls building a reclaim pickup tube to retrofit a decade-old trailer as one of the most interesting projects. 

“Knowing what was needed and the knowledge of fabricating such a piece made me realize just how much Ledwell has advanced in technology and ease of operation,” said William.

William has been married to his wife Debbie for 43 years. The couple has two sons and five grandchildren. Apart from spending time with his family, he enjoys fishing for white perch and catfish and riding motorcycles.

In the last 35 years, he has realized that the people he works with at Ledwell aren’t just coworkers but family. 

It’s been a humbling experience for William to see such support from fellow employees when a coworker experiences a loss. “The compassion I saw shown by my coworkers made me realize that Ledwell truly is a family.”

Raymundo Estrada

Ledwell Employee Spotlight - Raymundo

Raymundo Estrada aspired to utilize his hands to operate complex mechanical equipment as a kid.  Coming to America as a young adult to work, he has adapted to his environment and learned different skill sets that set him apart.

As a welder at Ledwell since 1992, Raymundo enjoys what he does daily because of the fast-paced routine, overcoming challenges, and working with talented people.

Raymundo works in the Truck Shop, where he and another partner work together on one truck at a time. They install the PTO short for Power Take Off, connect the hydraulic tank to the control valves, and install the hydraulic cylinders for lifting the truck body. 

Ledwell Employee Spotlight - Raymundo

He shared that, “We learn to be knowledgeable in multiple areas. If my partner and I are on different ends, we switch the next day so that if the other is gone, we don’t slow production waiting on him to come back. We can get the job done no matter what. That is one of the reasons I enjoy working here!” 

One of Raymundo’s many great attributes is his open-mindedness in working, teaching, and learning from others.

“Ledwell has made it easy to communicate, understand, and be part of a family,” Estrada expresses. 

Apart from his day job, Raymundo loves nature and enjoys hiking and running. Boxing is his favorite sport to watch.

Buck Jackson

Ledwell Employee Spotlight - November 2021

As a kid, Buck Jackson wanted to be a crane operator just like his father. 

A crawler crane to be specific. 

Although he doesn’t operate that type of crane Jackson does operate an overhead crane from time to time.

Jackson began his career at Ledwell as a welder in the Tank Shop building water tanks back in 2011. 

Water tank truck for sale ledwell
Jackson was selected to be featured on the Ledwell website.

Over the years he has built all types of equipment from dump beds to feed trailers. 

He soon obtained his ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Pipe certification to be a Code Welder – allowing him the opportunity to manufacture ASME Code Vacuum Tanks. 

Jackson is part of the Ledwell SEED Program. A program that cross-trains future leaders in each shop for a year.

“Buck is smart, hard-working, self-motivated, wants everything to be the right kind of person.” said Brad Stringer, Jackson’s Foreman, “He’s the type of employee that you can give a project to and walk away, knowing it will be right and finished in a timely manner. His work ethic and desire to succeed make him a very big asset to Ledwell.”

Currently, he is the Lead Man in the Kit Bay making kits for Water Trucks and Dump Trucks to streamline the process of mounting the bodies to the chassis in the Truck Shop.

Before Jackson started packing kits he was building vacuum tank subframes and learning how to mount the vacuum tanks that he would normally be building if he were not part of the SEED Program.

“Building tanks come naturally to me at this point, but troubleshooting in the Truck Shop challenges you and requires you to use your problem-solving skills,” said Jackson.

Jackson has been married for 12 years to Ashley and they have two sons, Drake and Walker. 

During his time off work, he likes to ride dirt bikes and go hunting for deer and duck.

Ledwell Employee Spotlight - November 2021

Matthew Gentry

Ledwell Band Saw, Machine Shop

“I am thankful to work for a company that cares about its employees,” said Matthew Gentry, who started working at Ledwell in 2016. Matthew has operated the band saw in the Machine Shop since the beginning.

On his typical day, he receives work orders from various shops concerning the length of material they need cut and the quantity. Both round and angle bar, as well as flat bar and structural beams, are common materials.

“We have nearly 400 types of materials to balance,” Gentry explained. “We need to cut these to a variety of lengths so production can run smoothly.”

The most challenging jobs he completes demand multiple angles cut on one piece of material, making them his favorite.

Ledwell Band Saw, Machine Shop

Matthew studied Audio Engineering in college. Though he isn’t using his skills at Ledwell, he makes up for it in his spare time.

At home, he has a music studio where he records music, but it’s not just any kind of music. It’s music he writes and performs. 

He has helped raise money through his album Far From Here for a non-profit, Guitars for Vets.

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