Fire truck plant opening brings jobs to Urbana

Sutphen’s new, larger facility also allows for future growth.

Sutphen Corporation and Urbana officials celebrated the opening of a fire truck manufacturer’s new plant, one that brings new jobs to the city and allows for future growth.

The Dublin-based Sutphen had a grand opening event for the 185,000-square-foot fire apparatus manufacturing facility, which is at 935 S. Edgewood Ave. near State Route 55.

Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) Director Rich Ebert said: “To be home to one of the largest, most well-respected fire apparatus manufacturers in the country is a point of pride for the city of Urbana and Champaign County as a whole ... Their business has already made significant contributions to the community through jobs and opportunities, and we are confident that there is more to come in Sutphen’s Urbana story.”

Sutphen bills itself as the nation’s largest family-owned and operated fire apparatus manufacturer. It designs, manufactures and sells fire apparatus from the ground up, building each piece from chassis and cab to aerial ladder and apparatus body.

Three area Sutphen facilities were combined into the new Urbana plant. Two were on County Line Road, the Sutphen Chassis facility and the Sutphen Pumper center. The third was the Sutphen Service and Technical Center previously on Ludlow Road, Urbana.

Those three facilities had about 70,000 square feet among them, and the new plant has more than twice that with additional acreage for future growth. The manufacturing plant occupies 25 acres of the 55 acres purchased by Sutphen in 2021.

Sutphen has already hired over 25 additional team members at the Urbana plant and is actively hiring for other open positions.

More than 225 team members work at the Urbana facility, and Sutphen has more than 500 employees throughout the company.

“This new facility increases our workforce, manufacturing efficiency, production capacity and so much more,” said Sutphen Corporation President Drew Sutphen, a fourth-generation family member.

He called the Urbana plant an investment in the family business and the community.

“The facility represents Sutphen Corporation’s commitment to responsible growth for generations to come and is an opportunity for the fifth and sixth generations of Sutphen family members to grow our family business for the next 130 years,” Drew Sutphen said.

The company announced the new plant in 2021, estimating it would cost $15 million or more to build. Workers began moving into the plant in late 2023.

The space includes conference and break rooms, outdoor patios, customer lounges, a Sutphen gear store and historic fire vehicles dating back to 1907.

Sutphen Corporation Vice President and Sutphen Hilliard President Julie Sutphen Phelps, a fourth-generation family member, said: “From our 30-plus years of operation in the community, we know that the Miami Valley is full of hardworking individuals who pride themselves on honest work. We are honored to grow within the community and excited to grow for generations to come.”

Sutphen Urbana is home to Sutphen’s extreme-duty custom chassis line, Sutphen’s corporate service and technical center and Sutphen’s Ohio custom pumper line. The business’s three other operations in Dublin, Hilliard and Lake Aerial, Pennsylvania, will remain where they are located.

Sutphen Corporation was founded in 1890.