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Coke bottler – and Mickey Truck Bodies – to the rescue!

Before and after. New Fire and Rescue unit features custom rear bumper with built-in steps.

OCALA, FL — JUNE 2021 — Montgomery Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED donated a 1996 16-bay Mickey trailer on a 1998 IH4700 tractor to the Montgomery (AL) Fire and Rescue Department, and while the durable, all-aluminum Mickey unit was in solid shape, a Fire and Rescue team has little use for a soft drink delivery truck.

So, the department turned to the Mickey Fleet Services Center in Ocala, FL to completely overhaul the trailer into a customized, fully functioning, multi-purpose vehicle designed to carry all the necessary equipment required to respond to any type of emergency.

“We completely refurbished, retrofitted and repainted the entire unit from the bottom up,” says Robert Badely, Mickey’s General Manager in Ocala. The upfit included custom shelving, ramps for loading and unloading equipment into the bays, and fabricated slide-out panels for hanging hand tools like shovels, picks and hoses. Every bay has its own lighting, and separate controllers operate the lights on each side of the trailer.

Bottom: Refurbished trailer features loading ramps and slide-out panels for hanging hand tools.

The rear compartment of the trailer, used for storing ladders, posts and other equipment too long to fit in the bays, is accessed through two swing-out style doors. The Mickey team designed and created a special rear bumper with three built in steps to make it easy for responders to get to the equipment. The repurposed trailer will be a “fantastic” addition to the agency’s fleet, says Sam Castanza, Montgomery Fire and Rescue District Chief of Special Operations. “This will fill a gap in our special operations unit.”

“I asked the chief what he wanted on a rescue trailer, and our team built the unit and included everything on his wish list,” according to Robert.

How did the job go over with the Montgomery Fire and Rescue Department? The Mickey Fleet Services Center in Ocala is now working on two more units.

(Click HERE to read the full story as it appeared in the May 26, 2021 edition of The Ocala StarBanner.)

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Rock solid body manufacturer erects ‘Roc Solid’ playset

Mickey volunteers check out their work.

There’s a proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Well, on a recent Saturday in Spring, it took 19 Mickey Truck Bodies employees and a few family members to raise a new backyard playset for a High Point youngster with kidney cancer. The project was directed by Roc Solid Foundation, a nonprofit that builds playsets through its Play IT Forward program for children who are going through pediatric cancer treatments. The High Point build was for 2-year-old Luca Teoli, who was diagnosed last year.

Mickey employees Luis Sanchez and Danny Crowe on the playset “assembly line.” Two-year-old Luca tries out his new playset.

“Roc Solid tries to match playset recipients with companies in the area that can help the build,” explained Heather Hankins, Mickey’s HR Manager. “They reached out to Mickey when they had a High Point recipient and presented us with the opportunity to pitch in. Mickey has a standing tradition of supporting its local communities, and this was another way we were able to contribute. Building rock solid equipment is right in our wheelhouse.”

Response from the Mickey team to help with the build was overwhelming, according to Heather. “We had a lot of employees raise their hands when the opportunity came up, but because of COVID restrictions we could only choose the first 19 volunteers.” The volunteers from Mickey also brought birthday presents for Luca, making the day extra-special. One of volunteers even mowed the family’s front lawn while he was there.

“We would never have been able to afford this playset,” said Jamie Teoli, Luca’s mom. “We dreamed about having one. For our dreams to come true means the world.”

Roc Solid Foundation, a nonprofit organization, builds custom playsets in the backyards of kids fighting cancer. They have completed hundreds of these playset builds throughout the U.S. as they have partnered with over 60 children’s hospitals coast to coast.

(Click HERE to read the full story as it appeared in the May 26, 2021 edition of High Point Enterprise.)

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Mickey adds to HR team in PA

Susan Ritchey

Susan Ritchey has joined the Mickey Truck Bodies team as HR Generalist in the company’s Berwick, PA manufacturing plant, where she is responsible for recruitment, onboarding, HRIS, employee relations, benefits, workers compensation and all other aspects of human resources. In addition to supporting the PA team, she will also directly support the Illinois, New Jersey, and Florida Fleet Service Centers in an HR role. She reports to Heather Hankins, Human Resources Manager.

Susan was most recently a Human Resources Recruiter and Safety Officer for a private wealth company that owns Allegheny Crane, KP Construction, and The George Washington Hotel. She has over 10 years’ experience across all areas of human resources. Susan earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Human Resources Management from Franklin University in Columbus, OH.

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Dawn Perring marks 10 years at Mickey in IL

Dawn Perring

Dawn Perring, Administrator at Mickey’s Midwest Fleet Services Center in Bloomington, IL, celebrated her 10-year anniversary with the company on May 31. She has spent her entire career with Mickey at the Bloomington facility.

Jesus Alcazar and Patrick Baynes, teammates on the Beverage Production team at the company’s headquarters plant in High Point, NC, are marking their 5-year Mickey milestones on May 16 and June 20, respectively.

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

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All the right stuff 

By Matt Sink, CEO
Mickey Truck Bodies has always been known for having highly skilled, professionally trained, and creative employees. They are also recognized for their benevolent nature through regular participation in the United Way, Junior Diabetes Foundation, Red Cross, Great American Clean-up, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and many other charitable and community causes.

Matt Sink

So, it was no surprise that 19 innovative and caring Mickey teammates volunteered to build a backyard playset and make a birthday wish come true for a 2-year-old cancer patient who lives with his family a stone’s throw from our main manufacturing campus in High Point, NC. The Mickey crew completed the build on their own time – off the clock – and even brought birthday gifts and mowed the family’s lawn. (See the “Roc Solid” story in this issue of the Spirit for all the details.)

The skills and creativity of our employees, however, go far beyond building great truck bodies and trailers … and even backyard playsets. Mickey’s southeast Fleet Services Team in Ocala, FL recently took a 25-year-old 16-bay sideload soft drink trailer with a 23-year-old chassis, and turned it into a “like new,” customized multi-purpose trailer for an Alabama Fire and Rescue Department. The new unit features an innovative, custom-built rear bumper with three built in steps to make it easy for responders to get to the rescue equipment. The rig was finished off with a glossy coat of “fire department red” paint. (See the “To the Rescue” story in this issue of the Spirit for all the details.)

You can’t build or repurpose great trailers without innovation. And if you want to add amazing backyard playsets to your product portfolio, you also need some creativity and compassion. Mickey employees possess all the above.

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Bryan Trogdon named Engineering VP

Bryan Trogdon

HIGH POINT, NC — APRIL 2021 — Bryan Trogdon has joined Mickey Truck Bodies as Vice President of Engineering, reporting directly to Tom Arland, President.

Bryan comes to Mickey with over 19 years’ experience in quality system design and implementation, operational leadership, and manufacturing integrations. He was most recently Vice President of Operations for Reidsville, NC-based BETA Fueling Systems, LLC/Liquip International, the global leader in the manufacture of aviation refueling equipment, and before that held positions with DJO Global/Elastic Therapy, Inc., a medical device manufacturer in Asheboro, NC, and Hydro Tube South in Pittsboro, NC, a hydraulic tube fabrication and machining facility.

“Bryan is an experienced business leader with demonstrated success in achieving operational excellence through Lean and Six Sigma deployment, strong team development, and employee empowerment,” says Tom.

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Michael Johnston, Tim Carter retire after long Mickey runs

From left: Michael Johnston, Tim Carter, Khamsee Khutsuvan, Cyndi Kinley, Justin Henderson

Michael Johnston, Cost Accounting Manager, and Tim Carter, General Accounting Manager, both long-time and valued members of the Mickey Truck Bodies team, will retire from the company at the end of April. They joined Mickey on April 24, 1978 (43 years), and April 22, 1996 (25 years), respectively.

Michael started in Mickey’s machine room/small parts prior to taking on responsibility for the company’s Costing Department, where he helped launch the company’s entire costing system and establish protocols for handling special pricing requests. During his tenure he also managed Mickey’s scrap program.

“As a young boy, Michael would ride his bike to the plant to do small jobs for us,” recalls Carl Mickey, Jr., Mickey Chairman and grandson of company founder Will F. Mickey, and a lifelong friend of Michael. “He has always been very dedicated, willing to do whatever was asked and doing it with enthusiasm. Congratulations Michael. You’ve earned it.”

Soon after joining Mickey in 1996, Tim was instrumental in building a solid financial team, according to Greg Fisher, currently President of MV&H and Tim’s first manager at Mickey. “He was exemplary in getting books closed in a timely fashion and assisting in controlling expenses.”

“Both Michael and Tim have always represented the best of ‘The Mickey Way,’” says Matt Sink, Mickey CEO. “They led by example, working evenings and weekends to ensure that all assigned duties were completed accurately and on schedule, and pitching in wherever and whenever they were needed. They were true advocates of the 3D’s – desire, determination and dedication.”

Another Mickey teammate, Khamsee Khutsuvan, Beverage Production, celebrated his silver anniversary at Mickey on March 5. Carolyn Bryson, Manufacturing Services, hit her 15-year Mickey mark on April 5.

Ten-year celebrants include Cyndi Kinley, Accounting/Finance (April 20), and Justin Henderson, Machine Room (April 4).

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

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A mobile food store? It’s called a ‘Growdega.’

Mickey’s Fleet Services Center in Thomasville, NC entered a new chapter in the vehicle reconditioning and upfitting business when it recently converted a 20-year-old book mobile into a like-new mobile neighborhood grocery store.

The job was commissioned by Growing High Point (NC), an organization that transforms under-resourced neighborhoods by providing economic opportunity through community engagement, empowerment, and entrepreneurship. The book mobile was donated by the High Point Library after it was taken out of service.

Before and after photos of the Mobile Food Store.

The mobile grocery store, which began operation earlier this year in Mickey’s headquarters city of High Point, was completely rebuilt and upfitted inside and out from a 2001 Ford commercial van to include updated insulation, LED lighting, two beverage coolers, and a custom roll-up rear window for walk-up access. Below the window the Mickey team installed a set of flip-out doors for easily stocking the unit. Mickey also installed a new Cummins generator, a cold and hot water interior sink, and custom shelving.

“We worked with Growing High Point to build a mobile food truck that is not only very practical to access and operate, but that also features a very cool design,” says Kyle McLaughlin, GM of the SE Fleet Services Center. “This truck will stand out wherever it goes with colorful graphics that depict fresh foods and staples.”

The truck is selling healthy and affordable foods such as fruits, vegetables and herbs from local food distributors and Growing High Point’s urban gardening program, as well as basic items like pasta, flour and personal hygiene products to low-income residents who do not have easy access to conventional food stores. The mobile grocery store will run six days a week and make up to 12 stops in predetermined neighborhoods.

“Even in the best of times, food insecurity has been an issue in High Point for a number of years,” says Patrick Harman, Executive Director of the Hayden-Harman Foundation and Growing High Point founder. “That’s why we are working to increase food access, and this truck will play a major role in that.”

The food truck is called “Growdega,” a play on the Spanish word “bodega,” which translates to “storeroom.” Bodegas are small, family-owned convenient shops located throughout major cities. According to the Growdega Instagram site, “A bodega is a staple in the community; a sort of one-stop cornerstone for all your food and household needs, a concept High Point is very familiar with. We wanted to take that idea and combine it with Growing High Point’s mission to bring more fresh food into the neighborhood.”

The Mickey Truck Bodies Foundation, the charitable arm of Mickey, is one of several Growdega sponsors.

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Fitter, healthier, happier employees is goal of Wellness Center

Announcing the opening of the Mickey Wellness Center are (from left): Care Providers Louann Sandell, RN and Catherine Miller, PA-C, and Matt Sink, Mickey CEO.

Mickey Truck Bodies and Wake Forest Baptist Health (WFBH) have teamed up to bring quality health care on-site to the Mickey team. The new Employee Wellness Clinic is located in the company’s beverage production building on the main manufacturing campus in High Point, NC. The clinic is staffed by licensed providers from Wake Forest Baptist Health, including Physician Assistants and Registered Nurses, who are equipped to handle sick visits; COVID-19, flu and strep tests; wellness exams; and health management programs among many other services.

The clinic was scheduled to open last year, according to Heather Hankins, Mickey’s Human Resources Manager. “The COVID pandemic and stay-at-home orders happened and the company and the medical community shifted focus to ensure the resources needed to battle COVID was a priority,” she says. “COVID has changed our definition of ‘normal,’ and as we adjust to the change, wellness for our essential workers is a priority.”

The mission of the clinic “is to provide health and wellness care targeted to our employees needs with the convenience of not having to take time off work,” Heather points out. “An acute medical problem can require a half-day off from work. The onsite clinic lessens the burden for an employee to miss time from work while still gaining solutions to their wellness and medical needs. We will offer different wellness focuses throughout the year to encourage employees manage their wellness.

WFBH is a leading academic health system based in Winston-Salem, NC. It’s 2 main components are an integrated clinical system that includes five community hospitals, more than 350 primary and specialty care locations and more than 2,500 physicians, and the Wake Forest School of Medicine, a recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking research.

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