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Hino announces plans to increase truck production as officials take tour

The boards of the Wood County Development Authority and the Parkersburg/Wood County Area Development Corporation were invited to the Hino plant in Mineral Wells Tuesday to take a tour to better understand what the company does and its processes in building trucks locally. Pictured are Steve Altmiller, Jim Spanner, Bob Bays, Shawn Taylor, Jim Fawcett, Mike Fleak, Lindsey Piersol, Janelle Comstock, Angela Tadlock, Todd Nestor, Wendy Shriver, Ryan Taylor, Buddy Malone and E.K. Sleeth. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

MINERAL WELLS — The local Hino plant is planning to increase production of the types of trucks manufactured at the Mineral Wells site, company officials said Tuesday.

Both boards of the Wood County Development Authority and the Parkersburg/Wood County Area Development Corporation were invited to the Hino plant in Mineral Wells Tuesday to take a tour to better understand what the company does and its processes in building trucks locally, said Lindsey Piersol, director of Wood County Economic Development.

When the plant’s original grand opening ceremony was held Aug. 21 there were a limited number of people from the boards who could come because of the number of dignitaries, business associates and others present at the time.

”The point of this tour was to show the people on the boards who were incredibly patient through the process of us owning the building what became of the building and give them an inside peek at what it looks like now and where the company plans to go in the future,” Piersol said. ”It has changed drastically from when we owned the building.”

The plant expanded production from its former facility in Williamstown. Hino spent $60 million turning the 1 million square foot former Coldwater Creek distribution center into a state-of-the-art truck manufacturing facility.

Steve Stalnaker, plant manager and vice president for Hino, answers questions from local business and development leaders during a tour Tuesday of the Mineral Wells plant. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

In August, company leaders announced a plan to invest an additional $40 million and create another 250 jobs at the Mineral Wells facility.

Steve Stalnaker, plant manager and vice president for Hino, said in January, the plant will see a significant model change in offering a quad cab and an extended cab which will result in changes on the assembly floor.

”We are really excited about this,” Stalnaker said.

The plant has continually had good support from the community, he said.

”West Virginia has always been very welcoming,” Stalnaker said.

The floor of the Hino plant in Mineral Wells. Local business leaders were taken on a tour of the facility Tuesday morning. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

At the time he first walked through the building in 2016, Hino was planning to expand operations in the U.S. With the company outgrowing its Williamstown facility there was a need for more space which company officials thought the former Coldwater Creek facility could accommodate.

West Virginia has been attracting automotive-related companies.

The plant’s production capacity is 13,500 trucks a year. The current average assembly time is 2.4 hours.

The plant has 497 employees, including 379 on the floor, 66 office employees and 52 others.

There are 108 variety of trucks the plant produces with numerous variations including different axle configurations and power vs. manual windows. A new truck series the plant began this year has 270 different models for the new series.

Local business leaders got to see how trucks are assembled at the Hino plant in Mineral Wells during a tour of the facility Tuesday morning. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

”The team members have to recognize that and respond to those builds,” Stalnaker said. ”If you build 50 trucks in one month, they could all be different.”

It is rare they would build two identical trucks back to back, Stalnaker said of the different variations they produce.

The company continues to adhere to its motto, “Safety First, Quality Always, Kaizen (continuous improvement) Forever.”

Good word of mouth about their trucks has increased their brand recognition across the country, Stalnaker said.

Penske Truck Leasing is one of their largest customers.

A worker at the Hino plant in Mineral Wells puts a tire on a truck being assembled Tuesday. Local business leaders took a tour of the facility to see how the company is operating at its new facility, which officially opened this past summer. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

The company views itself as a part of the community with the majority of the renovation work at the Mineral Wells facility done by local contractors.

”I think it is a great community commitment and reflects very positively on the community that Hino decided to expand here in Wood County,” Stalnaker said. ”The relationships have been very positive.”

Angela Tadlock of Danser Inc., who serves on the Executive Committee for the Wood County Development Authority, said this was her first opportunity to tour the facility and see what the company is doing at the new facility.

”It was spectacular,” she said. ”I was excited to come out and see what they have done. It is beautiful.”

Hino continues to enjoy doing business in the local area, Stalnaker said.

”It is important to note that our team members, which are now approaching 500, are committed to building a world class product here which is being used across the U.S.,” he said. ”It is so highly respected. It reflects very positively on the team members who build the truck, but also Wood County.

”If you see one of these trucks in the U.S. right now, a Class 6,7 and now 8, it was built right here in Mineral Wells. We take a lot of pride in that and our team members should take a lot of pride in that recognition of what we are producing here.”

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