Toyne Expansion Toured by American Legion


Company president pledges support for Home Base Iowa as American Legion Vice Commander tours facility.
Article reprinted with permission of author, Audrey Ingram, of the Daily Times Herald

Breda, Iowa - Concrete work for a 10,500-square-foot addition to Toyne, Inc.'s main office building was completed just days before temperatures in the region plunged below freezing, said company president Mike Schwabe.

The addition will be built on the west side of the existing 3,500-square-foot office building, which Toyne remodeled and moved into in 2003. It will provide offices for the five-, soon to be six-man engineering department, distinct space for research and development, and an enclosed inspection bay that will allow customers to make final checks on their new equipment away from the noisier production floor.

The majority of the building materials are expected just before Christmas. Construction is slated to start in January and wrap up in the spring.

The Toyne facility was on display Wednesday afternoon as a delegation from the American Legion swung through Breda on day three of a six-day tour of Iowa posts.

Touring the custom fire truck manufacturing facility on Wednesday were Paul Sanford, national vice commander from Kansas; Ed Rohner, vice commander for Iowa; John Tammen, 8th district commander from Garner; Ron Struble, department of Iowa commander from Manchester; and Jim Peterson, Iowa membership chairman from Gowrie.

One of his goals on this membership tour was to learn about local businesses that employ veterans, said Sanford, citing a good job as a critical piece of a soldier's successful return to civilian life.

The American Legion successfully lobbied for recent laws that allow veterans to receive certification for military training, ranging from medical to machine work, Sanford added.

Five veterans currently work at Toyne, said Schwabe. The company has also employed active Iowa National Guard members in the past, he added.

Schwabe views Home Base Iowa, Gov. Terry Branstad's program to spur economic development by providing jobs for veterans, as a potential recruiting tool.

Neighboring Greene County was the first in the state designated a Home Base Iowa community. Efforts to earn the designation for Carroll County are currently underway — and Toyne will offer its full support, Schwabe said.

"We've always had good luck hiring veterans," he said. "There is a discipline there. They're used to coming to work."

Toyne is also looking to expand its reach — it currently hits the medium- to high-cost fire apparatus market and plans to extend into the low-cost segment.

Changing Environmental Protection Agency regulations prompt constant redesigns to incorporate new components. The air leaving any Toyne fire truck today is virtually as clean as the air it takes in, Schwabe said.

But the most significant trend in the industry is consolidation of equipment, he said. As departments tighten funding, they are engaging more frequently in mutual aid agreements with neighboring squads and seeking trucks that can do the job of two or three vehicles, such as a pumper-tanker combination, or a water truck with compartments for rescue equipment like Jaws of Life.

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