SUMMERVILLE, SC (October 23, 2007) - American LaFrance, LLC celebrated its 175th anniversary of manufacturing emergency vehicles and vocational chassis, as well as the grand opening of its new manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters this past weekend in Summerville, S.C. Over 1,200 American LaFrance enthusiasts, vendors, and past and current American LaFrance associates enjoyed a two-day event that included antique apparatus displays, plant tours and a traditional "wet down" of the new facilities.
The brand-new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility includes over 440,000 sq. ft. of production and assembly space dedicated to fire apparatus and vocational chassis. The corporate office is comprised of 57,000 sq. ft. and houses a display area for antique apparatus owned by American LaFrance.
Over 20 antique fire apparatus from all over the United States were brought by their owners to be displayed, judged, and to participate in a "first water" competition. Antiques ranged from 1912 to 1960 with pumpers, aerials, and a chemical unit proudly displayed. American LaFrance also welcomed back one of its own, a 1928 Type 145 pumper. "Old Blue," as it has become affectionately known, had its restoration started by a group of American LaFrance employees and was painstakingly completed by Andy Swift and Ken Soderbeck. "Old Blue" will take up permanent residence in the display area in the corporate building in Summerville.
Visitors traveled from as far away as the Canadian Province of British Columbia, to be a part of the celebration and were treated to a brief ceremony led by Scott Barnes, Vice-President of Sales & Marketing for Fire Products as well as comments from new President and CEO Bill Hinz. Hinz stated, "We are a proud company built by our customers and associates and we look forward to expanding our reputation of producing products that enable fire and EMS personnel to save lives and protect property. Our products are identified with high quality and backed with unmatched dealer support during and after the sale. American LaFrance is poised to take the next step in re-establishing our position as the leader in fire apparatus".
Hinz also stated, "The acquisition of the company by Patriarch Partners LLC in December of 2005 created many challenges. For instance, our new facilities here in South Carolina didn't exist 18 months ago. The buildings we are in now are designed for fire apparatus and vocational chassis manufacturing to improve efficiencies while maintaining our quality standards. We also had to design and implement a new Information Technology system from the ground up. These two needs caused us to move quickly to become a truly stand-alone company. We are well on our way to implementing our new systems and optimizing plant utilization. American LaFrance is alive and well and we look forward to meeting our customers' needs well into the future."
About American LaFrance: American LaFrance has built fire and rescue apparatus since 1832. Today, the company manufactures and distributes a comprehensive line of fire and emergency apparatus including chassis, aerials, ambulances, pumpers, rescues, tankers and wildland vehicles. The company also manufactures a line of vocational vehicles. For additional information, visit www.americanlafrance.com. About Patriarch Partners Patriarch Partners, LLC is a private equity and investment firm in New York, North Carolina and Texas. Patriarch provides innovative financial solutions, strategic direction and perational expertise to companies undergoing periods of pervasive change. Funds affiliated with Patriarch manage assets in excess of $6 billion and include majority and minority ownership positions in more than 67 companies.