Rising Above The Storm

Rising Above The Storm

Glade Spring Manufacturing Facility reopens after tornado damage.


It was early Thursday morning on April 28, 2011, when a Category 3 tornado struck Utility’s dry van manufacturing plant in Glade Spring, Virginia.

The devastating 140 mph winds ripped through Glade Spring and other parts of Washington County damaging Utility inventory and sections of the manufacturing plant. Fortunately no employees were inside the facility when the tornado struck.

Immediately after the devastation, many of Utility’s Glade Spring plant employees were transferred to Utility’s nearby Marion, Virginia refrigerated trailer plant, while some helped the community with cleanup and recovery efforts. A few Glade Spring plant workers elected to remain at the Marion facility because of their closer commute. “Our workforce and managers have done a great job in working through the damage and the dislocation that was caused by the tornado,” said Jack Washburn, Utility’s Glade Spring Plant Manager. “The resilience and fortitude of our workers contributed to a successful full recovery and we are now back on the assembly line in full production.”

With the tremendous support of Utility employees and contractors working together, the plant reopened 2 weeks after the tornado struck. “The committed recovery efforts by Jack Washburn and all of our Glade Spring employees reinforces our faith in the human spirit and people’s ability to rise above near tragedy,” says Hal Bennett, President of Utility. As of mid- June, the plant’s assembly line was in full production with even more 4000DTM and 4000D-X CompositeTM dry van trailer orders than before the tornado hit. Utility has rehired all employees to meet the demands of higher production levels.

United Way of Russell & Washington Counties designated a disaster fund for Utility Trailer to aid employees and their families affected by the disaster. A combined total of $16,000 was raised for the fund by Utility Trailer Manufacturing, Hendrickson, Fleet Advantage and its employees.

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