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September 02, 2009

McNeilus Steel expanding its reach

Here's a story on McNeilus Steel of Dodge Center and its current expansion projects. 

For the record, I had a completely different and word play riddled lead on this story, but it was replaced by fuddy duddy editors for a 'straight' lead.

Here the special director's cut version of the lead as a special bonus feature for my blog readers:

DODGE CENTER – One area company is working to strengthen its mettle and extend its market in preparation for the dented economy to straighten out.

Here's how it appeared in today's dead tree edition:

DODGE CENTER — One area company is expanding in Wisconsin and North Dakota in hopes of taking advantage of a reviving economy.

McNeilus Steel will open a new warehouse in Fond du Lac, Wis., and a processing facility in Fargo, N.D., said Dan Blaisdell, chief financial officer for the steel company.

“We were affected by the recession. Business has slowed down in the last year. Now we’re hoping that we’ll be ready to go when things pick up here and move on,” Blaisdell said.

McNeilus produces and sells steel pipes, rolls, tubing, sheets and plates, and it performs contract fabrication for manufacturers. The fabrication is a growing segment for the Dodge Center company. McNeilus Steel  is not part of the McNeilus Truck in Dodge Center, which is owned by Oshkosh, Wis.-based Oshkosh Corp.

McNeilus Steel is expected to open the 110,000-square-foot warehouse in Fond du Lac by mid-October, Blaisdell said. It will be staffed by 15 employees.

“We decided we wanted to expand in eastern Wisconsin,” he says. “It will open up access to new sales. It will make it handy, and it’s an opportunity to expand in Oshkosh and Milwaukee.”

McNeilus also is building a 96,600-square-foot facility in Fargo, equipped with processing machinery previously only used in Dodge Center. The $15 million project will include a $7 million cut-to-length machine.

The company plans to break ground on the project Thursday, and the building is expected to open next summer. It will extend McNeilus Steel’s geographic sales range and make the Fargo site more self-sufficient. Currently, the three cut-to-length-line machines in Dodge Center handle prep work for Fargo.

McNeilus employs about 80 in Fargo and this expansion will need about 15 additional workers at the start, he said.

Meanwhile, McNeilus has been adding space and fabrication capabilities to its facilities in Dodge Center, which cover about 500,000 square feet and employ about 220 people.


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