Mike Patterson, an Ohio native and CEO of Battle Motors in New Philadelphia, says Ohio is a great place to do business and find workers.
"People just work harder here, quite frankly. It's a fact. And I have a really good feeling about these new graduates from high school. They seem to be really, really hungry. The crop of employees is just going to get better and better," he said.
On Wednesday, employees and customers of Battle Motors, as well as local officials, gathered at the plant at 1951 Reiser Ave SE for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark completion of an addition that expanded the plant from 125,000 square feet to 325,000 square feet.
By the numbers: Battle Motors' expansion
With a nearly $40 million investment, the plant went from one major diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) production line to a much larger CNG and diesel production line, plus a line for electric vehicles. Work on the line began Wednesday, with the production of eight or nine trucks.
By the end of 2023, Patterson hopes to be producing 20 trucks a day.
Thanks to the expansion, Battle Motors has added 220 employees over the past 14 months.
The company, which got its start in Los Angeles, is a leader in the vocational truck industry, providing custom, severe–service chassis and purpose-built vehicles for the refuse and recycling, infrastructure maintenance, ground support, multi–stop distribution, agriculture, and oil and gas markets.
Patterson considers it a major accomplishment that the construction project was completed as planned despite supply chain issues around the country.
"It's a good thing to hear these days that this is on time," he said. "Everything's on time, all the parts are on time, all the steel's on time, the cement's on time. Everything that we wanted to get done has been done exactly when we said we were going to do it. So we're very, very happy."
He credited that to the fact that he hired what he described as some of the best procurement people. And when they couldn't buy something, they made it themselves.
Former Crane Carrier plant gets new life under Battle Motors
Shortly after Battle Motors purchased the former Crane Carrier plant in 2021, Patterson invited city officials to come and hear his vision for the facility, Day said.
"His plan was aggressive and his determination to meet his employment and production goals was apparent," the mayor said. "Today, we are celebrating the result of his passion and the fact that it has made New Philadelphia a center for diesel, CNG and electric vocational truck manufacturing."
He added, "To the employees of Battle Motors, I want you to realize that you are part of the industrial resurgence in our community and in our country. Made in America is back, and because of your hard work, skill and ingenuity, there is no doubt in my mind that soon Battle Motors and the quality of its vehicles will be known and in demand throughout the United States and the world."
Day invited Patterson on stage and handed him a sign, designating a portion of Reiser Avenue as Battle Motors Road.
Scott Robinson, president and CEO of the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce, said Battle Motors is a great addition to the county.
"Anytime you have got companies growing like Battle Motors and some others in the area, it certainly is going to promote us as a place to be and a place to locate a facility," he said. "We're excited about what it may bring in the future just because Battle Motors is here."
On Friday, the company is sponsoring an on-site barbecue for its employees.
"This is a great place to live and a great place to hire people," said Patterson, who lives in California but spends a great deal of time in Tuscarawas County. "And you know, I couldn't have done it this quickly in California."
He cited red tape around permits and construction and a lack of workforce in California.
"Got a lot of cooperation from AEP and a lot of cooperation from local businesses and government here," he said. "It's just been a joy to do this here."
Truck cabs are lined up at Battle Motors in New Philadelphia. The company celebrated a nearly $40 million expansion this week. - Andrew Dolph/Times-Reporter