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In-Sink 2.0: Hero’s welcome

Matt Sink

By Matt Sink, CEO
JUNE 2020 – As our nation begins to reopen, the stories of our front line heroes continue to dominate the headlines and newscasts, and rightfully so. Doctors, nurses, medical emergency workers, first responders have risked their lives for the past few months, just as they have for their entire careers. But the Covid-19 pandemic has put an exclamation point on their courageous service.

Throughout the Covid crisis, the entire Mickey team has been working full force to manufacture and repair vehicles that deliver essential products to consumers – like food and water – and ambulance and emergency bodies that get people to the appropriate medical facilities. As Mickey welder Mark Milam put it: “I still come to work today like I did 6 months ago, only now it’s not just about feeding my family … we are working to save lives.” See the AEV/Mickey story in this issue of The Spirit.

At Mickey, we have great teammates who bring the 3-D’s to work everyday – desire, dedication and determination. Eighteen percent of Mickey’s full-time employees have been with the company for at least 20 years, and 30% have been here for 10 years or more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average for employee tenure has been stuck at 4.2 years for the past few years. We feature 8 of our 15-year-plus heroes in the “Milestones” story.

Then there’s Steve McLaughlin, who retired this month after 32 years with Mickey. While I was still in grade school, Steve was busy launching the company’s reconditioning business and, in fact, pioneering an entire industry.

Finally, and sadly, the body and trailer manufacturing industry lost one of its true stars this month with the passing of Mike Tucker, the former President & CEO of Mickey Truck Bodies. Mike joined Mickey in 2018 after 26 years with V.T. Hackney, our biggest competitor. He was the first non-Mickey family member to serve as President of our company, and in his short time here, Mike earned the respect and admiration of every employee because of his expertise, energy, and sincerity. He fought a heroic battle with cancer, and will be dearly missed by everybody who was fortunate enough to know him.

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Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night top ‘tenacity, determination, cooperation’

Alternative fuel trucks to deliver the mail

The McAbee, ROUSH CleanTech, Rush Enterprises and Mickey Truck Bodies team at the NTEA Work Truck Show.

HIGH POINT, NC — APRIL 13, 2020 – McAbee Trucking, a freight shipping and trucking company in Blacksburg, SC, has purchased eight Ford F-750 delivery trucks fueled by propane Autogas. They will be the first emission-reducing propane Autogas trucks used for contracted parcel delivery between United States Postal Service locations in North and South Carolina.

The trucks, unveiled at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis last month, feature 26-foot van bodies manufactured by Mickey Truck Bodies, upfitted with the ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel system, which is 90-percent cleaner than the Environmental Protection Agency’s most stringent heavy-duty emission standard. “We had great traffic at the NTEA booth,” says Dylan Kyle, ROUSH CleanTech’s Commercial Sales Manager. “Being involved with a family name like McAbee, which has been a decades long contractor of the mission-critical USPS application, showed very well.”

“As a business owner, I continually look for ways to add safety, improve day-to-day operations, advocate for environmental preservation and save money,” said Lisa McAbee, owner of McAbee Trucking. “Our new propane fleet vehicles accomplish all these goals.”

In January, Lisa’s “dream” was to have her company’s first-of-a-kind mail delivery truck on display at the NTEA show. “I thought, ‘how can we get this done in only three months?’ ROUSH had the chassis, now Mickey had to build the body from scratch. We all spent three weeks going over the specs for a mail delivery truck, something Mickey had never made before, and we made several changes along the way. I inspected that body from top to bottom and was so proud of it. We got it perfect. I want a Mickey body on every truck I own from now on. I’m sincere when I say that. It’s a great truck, rides great, and is cleaner than diesels. It’s a winner.”

The key to the success, Lisa says, was the “tenacity, determination and cooperation” of the three companies. “We came together to make something that seemed impossible only three months earlier. Mickey and ROUSH had to pull off a lot to get that truck done in time to make it to Indianapolis. Not many companies can build a truck in three weeks. Mickey Truck Bodies and ROUSH CleanTech surpassed my expectations for both the process and product.”

“At Mickey Truck Bodies we’re always proud of the work we do, but it’s especially satisfying to deliver quality equipment to forward-thinking companies that are taking a green approach toward the environment,” says Tom Arland, Mickey President. “McAbee Trucking is one of those companies. ROUSH CleanTech is also a forward-thinking company, and we’re proud to be partnered with Joe Rudolph [Vice President, Sales – Commercial Trucks] and his team. Rush Truck Center was also a great partner on this project.”

Bobby Stanley, National Account Manager at Rush Enterprises, Inc., led the team that supplied the Ford F-750s for the builds.

Propane Autogas costs about 40% less than gasoline, and 50% less than diesel. Propane fleets report savings of 30 to 50% on filters and fluids due to the clean operation of the fuel. To fuel its new fleet, McAbee will install a propane station onsite. Until then, the company has onsite “mobile fueling,” where its local propane supplier fuels the vehicles from a propane delivery truck.

“Propane is really a great fit for the size and duty cycle of the trucks we use in our business,” said Lisa.

McAbee Trucking has more than 47 years of experience serving the USPS. It has achieved an on- time dispatch rating of over 99% by the USPS.

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6 celebrate major Mickey milestones

Clockwise from top left: Brent Barricks, Rex Cook, Ron McBryde, Greg Fisher, Kevin Grayson, Tommy Moffitt

Brent Barricks, a welder in the Machine Room, and Rex Cook, Inventory Control, celebrated their 35-year anniversaries working at Mickey Truck Bodies. They both joined the company on January 31, 1985.

Ron McBryde, Driver, will mark his 30-year Mickey milestone on April 23.

Tommy Moffitt, Maintenance Supervisor; Kevin Grayson, Beverage/EV Production Manager; and Greg Fisher, President, Mickey Ventures and Composites Now, celebrated their 25 years with Mickey Truck Bodies on January 3, January 24 and February 1, respectively.

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In-Sink 2.0: Plenty to be proud of

By Matt Sink, CEO
Back on December 19 at the annual Mickey Truck Bodies’ holiday luncheon, I started my remarks to the team by announcing, “What a great year. There is so much to celebrate today, so much to be thankful for. Everyone has much to be proud of.”

Matt Sink

We picked up in 2020 right where we left off in 2019. Business was booming. The economy was strong. Nothing but blue skies ahead. Then we were abruptly introduced to the coronavirus, and everything changed.

In the face of this global health emergency, we have plenty to be proud of. We’re proud to be an integral part of a trucking industry that is hard at work making sure people have all the necessities of life, like food and water, medicine, emergency services. We have come together as a team to keep our plants fully operational during these trying times because we are an “essential” business. Through it all we continue to work safely and productively while maintaining all the social distancing and safety guidelines established by the appropriate government and medical authorities. In good times and bad, we can be proud that we adhere unconditionally to our core values of Desire, Dedication and Determination – the 3D’s. We can be proud that our business is on solid ground, we are a healthy company, and we are well positioned to weather this storm.

At the Mickey holiday luncheon in December I said that the outlook is great, that there is a lot to look forward to, and today I believe that as much as ever. When we do come out of this unprecedented health crisis, we will be a stronger company because we kept our noses to the grindstone for the good of our customers and the good of the country.

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‘Truly an exciting time at Mickey’

Tom Arland

HIGH POINT, NC — FEBRUARY 20, 2020 – Mickey Truck Bodies recognized 81 teammates with 15 or more years of service at its annual Holiday Luncheon in High Point in December. Included on the list were Mickey’s four 40-plus year celebrants Rocky Barham and Mike Rabon Sr. (42 years), Mike Johnston (41 years) and Greg “Spanky” Spainhour (40 years).

Dean Sink (red sweater) with 40-year folks (from left): Rocky Barham, Mike Rabon Sr., Mike Johnston, Greg “Spanky” Spainhour.

In his end-of-year address to the Mickey team, company President Tom Arland said: “Each and every one of you, no matter what your position is within the company, is a key contributor. Contributor to the success of our company; contributor to the success of our customers – new and existing; and contributor to each other. I am very impressed with the team support between our product lines. It is your team spirit and can-do attitude that enables us to consistently deliver on our promises to the customer. They want to work with us because of you, because of our great products, and because of our aftermarket support and service. 2019 was a great year, and I am looking forward to continuing our adventure in 2020 and beyond. This is truly an exciting time at Mickey Truck Bodies.”
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Hard seltzers an easy sell for wholesalers

Mickey’s Steve Mason (left) chats up industry trends with a couple wholesalers at the MBWA conference in St. Paul.

The growth in hard seltzer beverage brands and the shortage of qualified CDL drivers were two of the central topics discussed on the floor of the 2020 Minnesota Beer Wholesalers Association (MBWA) annual conference last month in Saint Paul. In light of those two trendlines, another common conversation heard around the hall was the rising popularity of non-CDL bodies, like Mickey’s 8.5-bay unit, a smaller sideload (total weight of less than 8,000 lbs) that many wholesalers are using to deliver their hard seltzers into tight urban markets.

“Many of the customers at our booth wanted to talk about the emergence of hard seltzers and what that new segment has done for their bottom lines,” says Steve Mason, Mickey’s Midwest Regional Sales Manager. “One of our customers in the upper Midwest just took delivery on his third 8.5-bay Mickey body under CDL. And we’ve probably refurbished 70% of his fleet in the last four years, many with new graphics depicting his hard seltzer brand. The under CDL chassis are so popular because of a lack of qualified CDL drivers, and they’re also much easier to deliver in city markets.” It’s not just the smaller units that are capturing the attention of hard seltzer wholesalers, adds Steve. “One of my major Miller/Coors customers said the new hard seltzer market has increased his business to the point where he will be ordering additional Mickey 18-bay trailers this year.”
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Ed Sears is Mickey’s new Controller

Ed Sears

Ed Sears has joined the Mickey Truck Bodies team as Controller responsible for all accounting and financial planning functions. He reports directly to Tom Arland, Mickey President.

Most recently Ed was Chief Financial and Operations Officer for LeMond Companies LLC, a carbon fiber manufacturing company in Oak Ridge, TN. Before that Ed, held various finance and operations roles (Divisional CFO and Head of Operations, Divisional Head of Audit, Supplier Compliance Director) at Reynolds American Inc. in Winston-Salem, NC. He also worked with RF Micro Devices (now Qorvo) as Finance Manager, Sara Lee Corporation (now Hanesbrands) as Sales Forecasting Manager, Keebler Company as Retail Sales Finance Manager, and Arthur Andersen & Co. as Senior Auditor.

Ed earned a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from the University of Cincinnati, an MBA from Miami (OH) University, is a Certified Public Accountant and is certified in GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) by the Center for Professional Innovation and Education.
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Engineer has eye for automation innovation

Trung Nguyen has joined Mickey Truck Bodies as Automation Engineer responsible for researching, implementing and managing new and innovative automation technologies and processes. He reports to Martin Skurka, Vice President of Operations. In this newly created role, Trung also oversees all equipment certification on the production floor.

Trung Nguyen

Most recently Trung was Automation Project/R&D Engineer with Asheboro, NC-based CPP Global, a plastics manufacturer for a variety of industries, including personal care, fragrance, food and beverage. At CPP he was responsible for the design of custom machinery and assembly equipment, as well as new product development and project processes. Prior to CPP he was Engineering Project Manager for Gilbarco Veeder Root in Greensboro, NC, a leading manufacturer of fueling and convenience store equipment and technology.

“Trung has over 20 years’ experience in project engineering, process controls and equipment implementation within highly automated manufacturing environments,” says Martin. “At Mickey we are continuously improving our manufacturing productivity and product quality through automation, and Trung will play a key role in developing and leveraging that automation.”

Trung earned degrees in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro.

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Mickey team stands ‘united’ … again

For the second straight year, Mickey Truck Bodies and the entire Mickey team has been honored with the United Way’s Spirit of North Carolina Award for Campaign Excellence, recording “the best United Way Campaign in the State of North Carolina” for 2019. The company and its team members raised $145,000 for the United Way of Greater High Point last year.

Mickey’s Melanie Weber and Matt Sink accept Spirit of North Carolina Award.

From 2013 to 2019 Mickey Truck Bodies contributed over $865,000 to United Way. During each of those years there was a 100% participation rate among the Mickey team in High Point. Mickey Truck Bodies is the only manufacturing company in the 90-year history of the United Way of Greater High Point has accomplished a 100% employee participation rate for 8 straight years, according to Joe Barnes, Campaign Division Director, United Way of Greater High Point.

“Mickey Truck Bodies has been a strong supporter of the United Way for many years because we believe in what it stands for and what it does within our community,” says Melanie Weber, Mickey’s HR Director. “We take pride knowing we make a difference in people’s lives. Our support comes from the top down – our corporate contribution has increased every year for the past 10 years. You feel good about working for a company that really cares.”

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Tom Arland, President


Steve Mason, Midwest Sales


Gary Remley, Northeast Sales


Dane Meyer, Southwest, West Sales


Todd Holm, Southeast Sales


Forrest Howard, Vans/Vending Sales


Rocky Barham, Parts


Kyle McLaughlin, Mid-Atlantic Fleet Services


Rob Piotrowski, Northeast Fleet Services


Robert Badely, Southeast Fleet Services


Mike Parker, Midwest Fleet Services


Larry Jacobs, High Point Customer Support


Tim Davis, High Point Media Relations


Kevin Turpin, Berwick, PA Plant Manager