Employees of Braun Industries celebrate the 6,000th ambulance built by the company at a reception held last fall. The firm’s sales have been increasing and approximately 20 new positions will be filled by the end of March. (Times Bulletin file photo)
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
VAN WERT - Another bit of good economic news was released this week by a company that has enjoyed much growth since locating in Van Wert in 2001. Braun Industries is experiencing an upswing in business during the past few months, and now the ambulance manufacturers will be growing to accommodate that trend."We will be growing our work force by about 20 positions," Braun Industries President Kim Braun told the Times Bulletin. "We'd like to have that recruiting done during the first quarter, so that means significant investments will be back for the community folks both in wages and compensation that is paid out and the tax base that generates as well."
Previously Braun had to trim some jobs due to lower sales attributed to counties and municipalities holding off on purchasing new emergency vehicles in the poor economy.
"As the general economy has moved out of poor economic conditions, most of our customers that had done additional maintenance instead of making new capital purchases are reinvesting in new ambulances. Their fleets have aged and they have higher maintenance costs so we are seeing a lot of communities across the nation reinvest in emergency service vehicles. Demand is going pretty rapidly. There have been some additional changes in our competitive climate, so we are picking up a lot of new business," Braun explained.
The uptick in business is not small. According to Braun, sales figures will soon be returning to the record levels set before the economic downturn. During that time, Van Wert County has seen the unemployment rate skyrocket and return to near 2008 levels. The December 2012 unemployment report for the state is due out on Friday, the county report will follow on Tuesday.
Filling the 20 positions at Bruan will probably not be a difficult task. Braun pointed out, "One of the most exciting things about coming to this community is the quality of applicants that we have found. We rarely find a shortage. We can always find somebody to fill a position, so we always take applications whether we have openings or not. Most of these openings are going to be production-related; anything from assembly to machine operators, welders, paint and body work, electrical, the gamut."
Applications are always taken at the front desk during normal business hours at the facility at 1170 Production Dr. in the Vision Industrial Park in Van Wert. Applications may also be submitted online at www.braunambulances.com. Due to the volume of interest, phone calls checking on applications will not be accepted, but Braun noted that the firm keeps applications on file for an entire year.
"We just appreciate all the support the community has given us since the time we moved in," emphasized Braun. "Seeing our growth pattern over the last decade and supporting us even when we had to tighten the ship a little bit. We're looking forward to the challenges of growth."