Chamber Hosts JLG Appreciation Dinner
The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce held a formal dinner last Wednesday to recognize and honor the county’s largest employer, JLG Industries, the world’s leading manufacturer of access equipment, and its parent company, Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp. JLG was bought by Oshkosh in October of 2006.
Also hosted by the Fulton Industrial Development Associatiion (FIDA) and the Fulton County commissioners, the event was held at the American Legion banquet hall.
Following a brief history of JLG Industries by the author of “The Life & Legacy of John L. Grove,” Gerald Lute, Executive Vice President of Oshkosh and President of JLG Wilson Jones was introduced by John Duffey of the FIDA.
Receiving a warm welcome, Jones told the gathering he felt it an honor to represent the great team at JLG. He introduced executives Tim Morris, senior vice president of sales; Chris Mellott, vice president customer support and after-market development – the Americas; Andy Tacelosky, vice president manufacturing – the Americas; Paul Heffernan, senior director GPSC access; Tracey McKenzie, vice president human resources; and Kirby Kough, director of operations, McConnellsburg.
Jones said that JLG has a lot of tradition, a lot of legacy and a lot has been accomplished. “But the team here tonight thinks we still have a long way to go, and we are excited about that,” he said.
Following an Oshkosh video showing the many manufacturing facets of the company, Jones told the gathering that as community leaders it is important to know “that our corporation is behind you.” Jones went on to say that Oshkosh continues to invest in JLG McConnellsburg.
Jones reported that JLG’s Bedford plant has built about 170 TPVs, a smaller version of the MATV, an armored military vehicle, in recent months. He also said that good news could be coming JLG’s way for more MATVs to be built here in the near future. Jones reported that the McConnellsburg workforce had been down to 600 but was now back up to 1,300. In further good news, Jones said that JLG is ready to start hiring about 100 engineers.
“We do appreciate the community and all that it has done for JLG, and we certainly are excited about the next few chapters in JLG’s history book. We believe there is a lot more history to be made,” Jones said.
Introduced by Chamber of Commerce President Dwight Washabaugh, Jack Rhoades of the Mason-Dixon Boy Scout Council and Camp Sinoquipe ranger, spoke about the camp and JLG’s ongoing commitment to both the Scouting program and Sinoquipe in honoring and thanking the company for its support.
Sue Yeager representing state Rep. Dick Hess read a House resolution honoring JLG Industries and Oshkosh Corp. for being “an excellent corporate citizen” for more than 30 years. The signed resolution dated June 11 was presented to Jones.
Representing the Fulton Industrial Development Association (FIDA), Clyde Bookheimer said that when he was growing up many young people had to leave the county to find work because there was none here. He recalled that at one time if a person was up early enough in the McConnellsburg area, a steady stream of headlights could be seen headed up the mountain taking workers to their jobs outside the county. Many of those people, Bookheimer said, eventually decided to move closer to their jobs, and with the loss of their support, it became difficult to maintain businesses and commerce in Fulton County.
But thanks to JLG, Bookheimer said that Fulton County’s young people were given the opportunity to stay here and help build the community. He said that work at JLG had brought many of those who left back.
“Now when you look up at the mountain on an early morning, you will see a stream of headlights coming this way!” said Bookheimer.
Calling JLG an “asset to the community,” Bookheimer said the manufacturer not only provided employment but leadership as well to the community and to the FIDA. He said the company is a generous contributor to many of the organiza-