It's the largest industrial project being completed in David City in recent history.
With 2019 serving as the 135th year of trailer manufacturer Timpte Inc. being in business, President/CEO Dale Jones recently said it was fitting to unveil its new project.
The company is in the process of expanding its manufacturing plant and headquarters, which have been in nearby David City for the past 40 years. Jones said business leaders looked into building a new headquarters elsewhere but decided to expand its site in David City because it was the most viable option.
“We visited Indiana, we visited Kentucky, we visited a variety of locations where we potentially might move some of our production, and after all of that data collection and analysis we came back and said, 'we’re going to stay here,'” Jones said. “This is the best place for our product, in the heartland of the country, and we’re going to make a major investment into our facilities.”
Schwisow Construction, from Lincoln, is the general contractor for the project. The updates to the facility at 1827 Industrial Drive are estimated to cost about $14 million and consists of four parts.
The first is a brand new sales, parts and service center. This 11,800-square-foot-building will house technicians, parts representatives and sales personnel. Jones said the center will primarily focus on the eastern part of the state and will complement Timpte’s current sales center in Aurora, which was recently upgraded and expanded by 7,000 square feet. The center in David City was expected to open around Feb. 1.
The second new building will be a product showroom and corporate offices. The 30,000-square-foot facility will house the company's engineering group, accounting group, senior executive staff and other personnel. The entire eastern and southern side of the building will be made of glass walls designed for customers to view product displays. Jones compared the setup to that of a car dealership where a variety of products and fully completed trucks will be on display in the showroom. This building is on track to be completed by September.
A new research and development center is also in progress. This newly constructed 12,000-square-foot building will be used by researchers to develop new products for the company. Jones said it should be finished around August.
The final part of the project is a 23,000-square-foot addition to the north side of the campus’s factory. This would bring the total square footage of the building to 400,000. Once finished around December, the campus’ release facility will no longer be used. Jones said the approximately 8,000-square-foot building was constructed less than eight years ago. The company plans to sell it and have it relocated off of the site.
Jeff Thompson, executive vice president of manufacturing and engineering, said he appreciates the help of local community members for making the project a reality, such as those in city government and former Bank of the Valley President Larry McPhillips.
“We’ve worked closely with both the state and Department of Economic Development, as well as the David City mayor and city council on this project,” Thompson said. “Former Mayor (Skip) Trowbridge has just been an outstanding leader in regard to supporting this development and Mayor Alan Zavodny has done a great job supporting us.”
Zavodny said the Timpte expansion will serve as an economic boost to the city.
“We’re just thrilled that they located it in David City, they could have gone anywhere,” Zavodny said. “I think it's going to be a crown jewel in our city.”
Timpte employs about 440 people, 300 of which work out of David City. With the expansion comes the addition of 30-60 new jobs. Jones said one of the concerns with hiring is the constraint of limited local housing, and Zavodny said he agrees.
Many who work David City live in places like Columbus and Schuyler. The city has hired Marvin Planning Consultants to conduct a study on the housing needs of Butler County. Zavodny said he hopes this will be a stepping stone to the construction of additional housing in the $150,000-$200,000 price range, something he said the city currently lacks.
“We know we’re short on housing,” Zavodny said. “You don’t want to see the tail light train of 30, 40 vehicles leaving town every day.”
Traffic is also a concern for the company. Because of this, a new turning lane leading into the facility is planned to be constructed. Jones said work is to begin sometime this spring. Other projects in the works for Timpte include constructing a new parts and service sales branch in Indiana.
Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.