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Josh Phelps promoted to Manufacturing Manager.

Josh Phelps

HIGH POINT, NC – OCTOBER 2020 – Mickey Truck Bodies has promoted Josh Phelps to Manufacturing Manager responsible for all product lines manufactured at the company’s High Point headquarters complex. He reports directly to Tom Arland, Mickey President.

Josh joined Mickey in 2006 in the beverage plant where he worked as Lead Man over the trailer line, and later became Lead on the EV line. He was also Lead Man for the van plant, working his way up to Van Supervisor. In 2019 he was named Van Team Manager, his most recent position.

“Josh came to Mickey with an impressive military background and outstanding leadership skills,” says Tom. “He has excelled in every position throughout his career at the company, and understands our customers, products and services, and our corporate culture.”

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Fleet operators get a ‘lift’ from Mickey

USPS body features a Waltco gate installed by Mickey’s Center in Freehold, NJ. Heartland Coke trailer with a Maxon liftgate installed by Mickey’s Fleet Services Center in Bloomington, IL..

As fleet operators across all industries continue to wrestle with tighter delivery spaces and a shortage of CDL drivers, many are turning to liftgates and non-CDL van bodies, or straight trucks, to offset both issues. For example, soft drink kingpins Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola and Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) are converting portions of their fleets to these types of units to improve delivery efficiency to retailers like convenience stores and urban-based “mom-and-pops.”

“We are continually working with Heartland Coca-Cola out of St. Charles, MO on upgrading their fleet with liftgate replacements throughout Central Illinois,” says Mike Parker, GM for Mickey’s Midwest Fleet Services Center in Bloomington, IL. The liftgate installation business is also brisk at Mickey’s three other regional centers in Thomasville, NC; Ocala, FL; and Freehold, NJ.

Even the United States Postal Service (USPS) is hopping on the liftgate bandwagon. Mickey’ Northeast Fleet Services Center in New Jersey is installing new Waltco medium duty MDL-12 liftgates on several mail trucks, doing its part to help every vote get counted in the November 2020 general election.

At the company’s headquarters manufacturing complex in High Point, NC, “Liftgates are one of the most popular accessories on our new bodies and trailers,” says Mickey President Tom Arland. Mickey is an authorized dealer and installer for all major liftgate brands, including Anthony, Maxon, Waltco and Thieman.

Mickey freestanding 20,000-sq-ft liftgate installation facility in High Point, NC houses 15 bays and handles over 15,000 units a year. “It’s the most automated manufacturing plant of its type in the country,” says Tom. “The equipment, fixtures and process set new standards for safety, quality and efficiency.”

The liftgate installation plant was featured in the April 2019 issue of Trailer/Body Builders Magazine. Click HERE to view the entire story.

Mickey Regional Fleet Services Centers:
Thomasville, NC: Kyle McLaughlin
Ocala, FL: Robert Badely
Freehold, NJ: Rob Piotrowski
Bloomington, IL: Mike Parker

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NBWA’s unconventional convention still delivers

Brian Gelner (left), NBWA Chairman, and Craig Purser, NBWA President and CEO, welcome virtual attendees on Day 1. All presentations and seminars will be available for on-demand replay through October 31 on the NBWA web site.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) held its 83rd Annual Convention and Product Showcase on October 5 and 6 without a single handshake or sip of beer. For the first time ever, the convention assembled beer distributors and suppliers in a totally virtual environment, a consequence of the surging Covid-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, says Gary Remley, Mickey Truck Bodies’ Northeast Regional Sales Manager and one of the company’s online attendees, “it was an important exchange of information, ideas and trendlines.” In addition to the keynote speakers, the convention included 17 education seminars and a virtual Product Showcase that allowed distributors to connect with exhibitors and learn more about their products inside a digital exhibit hall. Mickey Truck Bodies was the only body and trailer manufacturer featured in the Showcase. “We heard from several wholesalers as well as from NBWA staff members who were very grateful for our participation and continued support,” notes Gary.

“There is nothing traditional about 2020, but one thing that never changes is our industry’s strength when we work together,” said opening day keynoter Craig Purser, NBWA President and CEO.

The convention closed with the transition of the Chairmanship from Brian Gelner, EVP and CFO of Heart of America Beverage Company in Springfield, MO, to Patrick Blach, President of Blach Distributing Company in Elko, NV.

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15-, 10- and 5-year milestones

Clockwise from top left: Ryan Stewart, Edwin Taylor, Jose Verdugo, Billy Spena, Roy Emanuel Solis, Marc Johnson

Ryan Stewart, a Welder on the EV line, celebrated his 15-year anniversary with Mickey on September 12, and Edwin Taylor, Van Assembly, will hit his 15-year Mickey mark on October 24.

Jose Verdugo (September 13), a Welder on the Van Team, and Marc Johnson (October 18), IT, are celebrating their 10-year milestones.

Roy Emanuel Solis, Van Assembly, and Billy Spena, Welder, SE Fleet Services, have reached their 5-year work anniversaries with the company.

Eighteen percent of Mickey’s full-time teammates have been with the company for at least 20 years. Thirty percent of the entire Mickey team has been with the company for 10 years or more.

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In-Sink 2.0: Mail call

Matt Sink

By Matt Sink, Mickey Truck Bodies CEO
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mickey Truck Bodies has been proud and privileged to be recognized as an essential business, able to serve our customers who deliver vital goods and services to the general public. Through it all we have kept our plants open and our people working, and we continue to do so safely and productively.

Of course, delivery of the U.S. mail, under normal circumstances, is one such vital service. But considering these not-so-normal times, prompt and thorough mail delivery is even more crucial. If current election estimates bear out as predicted, about 80 million mail ballots will be delivered to election offices this fall, more than twice the number returned in 2016. Concerns about potential virus transmission at polling places will make mail voting in America more accessible this year than ever before.

We’re installing liftgates on several United States Postal Service trucks at our Fleet Services Center in New Jersey. And while these will play a small role in helping make sure all the votes are counted in the upcoming election, the bigger picture is the trend toward liftgates to improve delivery productivity, regardless of what’s being delivered. (See the liftgate story in this issue of The Mickey Spirit.)

Mickey Truck Bodies has been ahead of the liftgate trend. We opened a dedicated 20,000-sq-ft liftgate installation and chassis prep facility adjacent to our main manufacturing plant in High Point in 2017. It’s probably the most automated manufacturing plant of its type in the country, and demand has kept the plant running at top speed from day 1. We are an authorized installer for all major liftgate brands, and we have the most talented team of installers in the business, not only in High Point but also at all our Regional Fleet Services Centers. Like the one in New Jersey that’s upfitting the U.S. mail trucks.

To paraphrase: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat … keeps Mickey Truck Bodies from the swift completion of its appointed rounds.”

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Mickey answers c-store call with smaller units, innovative features

Beverage companies are looking to smaller units, such as 6-bay sideloaders and van bodies with liftgates, for more efficient deliveries to c-stores.

HIGH POINT, NC  – AUGUST 2020 – For the fifth consecutive week ending August 1, off-premise dollar sales growth of beer, FMBs (flavored malt beverages) and cider in convenience stores outpaced sales in larger channels, such as supermarkets, according to Nielsen. The most recent data marks a reversal of early COVID-19 trends when consumers, fearing shortages, stocked up on their favorite from large-format stores.

“The bounce back of the c-store, which of course is beer’s most important channel, is another sign that consumers have settled into a ‘next’ normal,” Danelle Kosmal, Nielsen VP of Beverage Alcohol Practice, told The Daily Brew, NBWA’s online daily newsletter.

“Many of our customers are requesting smaller sideload units, like 6.5- and 8.5-bay bodies, for better maneuverability in convenience store parking areas,” says Tom Arland, Mickey President. “In addition, some customers, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, and Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP), are using different types of van bodies, or straight trucks, with liftgates for c-store deliveries. Not only do these smaller units improve delivery efficiency to small store formats, the fact that they do not require a CDL license helps address the issue of driver shortages.”

Besides the Covid-19 restrictions imposed on restaurants and bars, the continued popularity of categories such as energy drinks and hard seltzers is also driving deliveries to c-stores. “We’re selling a lot of non-CDL 6-bay mini bodies for the energy/secondary brands,” says Todd Holm, Mickey’s Southeast Regional Sales Manager. “They are very easy to maneuver in city locations where space is tight. “Energy brands like Bang, Monster and Red Bull continue to sell well. So are the hard seltzers like Truly and White Claw. And now Coca-Cola jumping in with coffee-flavored sodas.”

“For any type of delivery, innovation will drive the beverage truck market for the foreseeable future, and Mickey will continue to pave the way,” notes Dane Meyer, Mickey’s Southwest/West Sales Manager. “KDP is actually reducing its conventional tractor and trailer fleet in favor of sideload and bulk trailers, and converting to 26-foot non-CDL van bodies with liftgates. Wholesalers are looking at non-CDL straight trucks with liftgates, on-board charging systems for electric delivery carts, roof-mounted solar charge systems for gates and electric pallet delivery devices. Efficiency, productivity and profitability will be the top priorities for companies delivering beverages.”

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Just like new …

This Bulkmatic bulk tank (below) was reconditioned from the ground up by Mickey Truck Bodies’ Northeast Fleet Services Center in Freehold, NJ. The overhaul included suspension, axles, airlines, electrical system, paint and graphics. Bulkmatic Transport is the largest dry bulk carrier in North America.

Contact Rob Piotrowski, General Manager of Mickey’s Northeast Fleet Service Center, for more information, or click HERE to download our brochure and see how we can recondition, repair, upfit or overhaul any vehicle for any type of service … and make it look like new!

Mickey employees are practicing all health and safety guidelines regarding safe “social distancing” and personal hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak. Our facilities and equipment are cleansed and sanitized daily, and all incoming and outgoing vehicles are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected for the safety of our employees and your drivers.

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Two retire, two celebrate milestones

Mike Parker, General Manager of Mickey’s Midwest Fleet Services Center in Bloomington, IL, will celebrate his 20-year anniversary with the company on August 28. Mike has held that position since joining the company in 2000.

Mike Parker and Lori Lynk

Lori Lynk, Sales Associate, hit the 15-year Mickey mark on August 1.

Two long-time Mickey teammates recently retired from the company. Arnold Berry, a welder on the Emergency Vehicles line, retired in August after 28 years with Mickey. Jimmy Giles, who most recently worked on the Beverage Logistics team, called it quits after 23 years with Mickey.

Eighteen percent of Mickey’s full-time teammates have been with the company for at least 20 years. Thirty percent of the entire Mickey team has been with the company for 10 years or more.

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In-Sink 2.0: 12 keys to success

By Matt Sink, CEO
Mickey Truck Bodies has been privately owned by the Mickey family since it was founded in 1904, and is now in its fourth generation of family ownership and day-to-day operation. Like all great and enduring companies, throughout our history we have shifted our business strategies and operational practices countless times. Certainly this year, with all the changes and restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been anything but “business as usual” as we strive to keep our employees safe and our customers happy. We are working differently.

However, while we have changed our strategies, our products, and our services over the years to meet and exceed market demands and customer needs, we have always preserved our company’s core values and corporate culture. We never have, and never will, waver from the principles that make us a successful enterprise. In this strange and unpredictable year, we sat down and thought through the past, present and future keys to our success. Here’s the list:

Mickey Truck Bodies’ 12 Keys to Success

1.EARN TRUST … of your teammates, your customers, and your business partners by listening … and then doing what you say you are going to do

2. CUSTOMER FOCUS … be solution oriented. Build relationships that offer value.

3. COMMIT … to getting the job done right the first time. (See Key #1)

4. OWNERSHIP … accept responsibility for your work and your performance

5. GOALS … drive the business forward and create a common purpose for the organization.

6. RESULTS … measured against your goals. I.E. safety, quality, productivity, customer satisfaction.

7. FRUGALITY … spend wisely. Resourcefulness saves money.

8. TAKE ACTION … Indecision leads to stagnation. Be agile.

9. WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER … keep it simple. Stay organized.

10. POWER OF HABIT … be consistent. Be disciplined in maintaining good behaviors.

11. INNOVATION … improve something every day. Don’t settle for ‘the way it’s always been done.’

12. TEAMS … we all win together. Never say ‘that’s not my job.’

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Mickey Engineered Vehicles

Contact Us

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