Summit Truck Body recently broke ground on a new 74,000-sq.-ft. truck body manufacturing facility in Ridgefield, Washington, in an event attended by company officials, dignitaries, and vendors.
The new factory—where the manufacturer will produce truck bodies for deliveries, lease and rental, cargo freight, various trades, and airport drayage—will “substantially” increase Summit’s capacity to meet customer demand in Northern California and throughout the Greater Northwest, the company reported.
The new building will feature multiple production lines “mathematically designed” to enhance productivity through “one-piece-flow” manufacturing.
“Summit has been trusted by our customers with a record backlog of orders, and this investment demonstrates our commitment to fulfilling them,” Ted Croce, Summit CEO, said in a news release. “This facility is a strategic move intended to exceed industry standards for lead times, and create a manufacturing work environment for our employee-owners that is the standard by which all others in this industry will be compared.”
Summit purchased the property in mid-2021 and has since been working on permits with Clark County. The location is south of the Ridgefield city limits, adjacent to the amphitheater and fairgrounds. “Proximity to Interstate 5 was critical in the site selection for ease of transportation access by customers, employees, and suppliers,” Croce said. “We persevered through challenges with wetlands, slope, and escalating construction costs to make the project a reality.”
Added Clinten Hendricks, vice president of business development for the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC): “We are delighted to welcome Summit Truck Body to Clark County. Community leaders have positioned Clark County to attract manufacturing companies, who have a positive multiplier effect for our local economy.”
Summit’s corporate headquarters will relocate into an 11,000-sq.-ft. portion of the building, the company added. The new facility will be in addition to a repair operation in Kent, Washington, that serves the Seattle area. Of the several buildings currently occupied in Portland, Oregon, one facility will be retained to provide ongoing service to current customers in Portland.
“Providing a modern headquarters and office for our manufacturing team is a key objective with this new facility in order to continue attracting the best team members,” said Jeff Blater, director of operations. “They are the cornerstone of our continued success,” Summit is 100% employee owned, one of only about 8,000 businesses in the country to achieve this incredible feat. “We’ll be able to add 60 new employees in addition to the 45 current employees that will be transferring with us to this facility,” Blater said.
Construction is expected to be completed in March 2024.
“Undertaking new construction from the ground up is not for the faint of heart. I am grateful for the contributions of each person who made this possible,” Croce said. “I’m humbled that the best of the best chose to work with us on this project.”