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Todd Dills

Utility plant back in action after Va. tornado

| May 16, 2011

You’ll no doubt recall the Petro Stopping Centers location in Glade Spring, Va., that was hit by a tornado during the big outbreak back in late April. (Find information about it in my post from April 28, in the comments section.) Less-remarked-upon in driver forums and the trucking press was another industry-related business also hit there.

Utility Trailer’s Glade Spring plant was in the storm’s path, and it left many trailers in production there unrepairable, plant manager Jack Washburn told reporter Debra McCown in this TriCities.com story from the first of May, adding that the tornado “tossed them around like toys… They were stacked three and four high with the wheels off, some of them broke in half.”

He also noted at that time that he expected it may take up to four months to get back to full capacity at the plant, but word came down from Utility just 10 days later that the dry van manufacturing facility in Glade Spring was back open for manufacturing.

“While our building and roof sustained damage, Utility was fortunate that our machinery and tools were undamaged by the storm. Our employees and contractors have done a masterful job of clean-up, debris removal, and clearing damaged inventory and trailers.  We plan to build up our production and reinstate most employees at an aggressive rate,” said Harold Bennett, Utility President. “To help increase production, some of our Glade Spring backlog has been transferred to our second dry van plant in Paragould, Arkansas. Between the two plants we hope to be caught up on our delivery commitments within 90 days.”

Bennett went on to add, “The committed effort by Utility employees at cleaning up and restarting Glade Spring reinforces our faith in the human spirit and people’s ability to rise above near tragedy.”

It’s another bright point in the ongoing relief efforts across the Southeast.

Read more about the Glade Spring tornado at Tricities.com.

Find information on current Mississippi River flooding and road closures here.

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