Featherlite gives customers what they need, desire


CRESCO - You’ve probably heard how people travel all over the country to see a local point of interest, such as Hayden Prairie or Borlaug’s Boyhood Home, but locals have never visited them.
It’s true of businesses as well. Many residents of Howard County don’t know what some of our local manufacturers actually do. Featherlite is the largest employer in the county, with 450 workers and has been in Cresco since 1980, but it is still somewhat of a mystery. Sure they build livestock trailers . . . but what else?
The company is one of the major producers of custom trailers in the nation, and clients return again and again for duplicate or updated models.
One of those companies is Samaritan’s Purse, a disaster relief organization founded by Robert Pierce in 1970 with Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy Graham, joining in 1974. He continues as CEO.
Featherlite recently finished its third of six utility trailers for Samaritan’s Purse. It has also designed and built five shower trailers, three kitchens and five bunks for the organization.
The utility trailers are specially built according to whatever the client wants. For Samaritan’s Purse, the trailer has counter tops and storage for all sorts of tools needed during disasters, such as chainsaws and other rescue materials. It also has a command center type area at the front. 
The process begins with sales. “They discuss the needs and wants with the customer and also the price. They look at what type of truck will be pulling the trailer. Slide-outs are also an option,” said Joe Labosky, engineer.
One of the options available that Samaritan’s Purse has taken advantage of is to have an 80-gallon tank of gas in locations where they can fill rescue equipment that may otherwise have no way of getting fuel.
After years of experience, the entire process takes about two months from start to finish.
New Human Resources Manager Tom Wankerl said, “It’s amazing what the employees here can transform trailers into.”
One of the newest projects for Featherlite is a world-class training center. “It will provide a space on-site to help teach welding and training for assemblers as well as leadership development,” Wankerl added.
Featherlite wants its clients to feel like their custom trailers are an office-on-wheels as well as a home-away-from-home.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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