• Last modified 992 days ago (Sept. 1, 2021)


Manufacturer credits success to employees

Staff writer

Hillsboro Industries, which makes an assortment of trailers and truck flatbeds, credits its success to dedication to its 65 employees.

“We are very employee-focused,” chief executive Michael Gerken said. “We offer a very good benefit program.”

He said benefits include 70%-paid health insurance with a $500 deductible for employee and family policies and a profit sharing program that pays employees twice a year.

His sentiments about the company being good to its employees are echoed by laser operator Michael Klose and welder Russ Cain.

Klose, who lives in Hillsboro, has worked for Hillsboro Industries a little more than eight years.

“These people treat us very well here,” Klose said. “They treat us like family. They really do. That’s why I like it so much.”

Cain, who lives in Marion, has been with the company 15 years.

“They treat us very well,” he said. “I love my job. I love working with my hands, but they do treat us very well.”

Cain said the company recently added new incentives, including a chance to have more time off and a chance to make more money.

Gerken said that if someone was willing to work, the company would find a way to put them to work.

Welders, painters, assembly workers, fabrication workers, forklift operators, and engineering and accounting staff members are employed at Hillsboro Industries’ facility in east Hillsboro.

Since Flint Hills Industries purchased Hillsboro Industries in 2005, it has expanded its annual output to more than 4½ times what it was.

Under its original ownership, the company started in 1986 producing spring-tooth harrows and multiple drill hitches.

The company would have grown even more by this time had not parts and material deliveries been slowed down by COVID-19, Gerken said. In fact, the company had to shut down for a week in July to give its supply chain time to catch up. Employees were paid during the shutdown.

“Throughout COVID, I will say we are incredibly proud of our team,” Gerken said.

The company is now a multimillion dollar business that produces livestock, cargo, utility, and car trailers and 10 models of flatbeds. Its merchandise is sold to 170 dealers throughout the country.

Every trailer the company makes in its 100,000-square-feet facility offers something unique, Gerken said. Livestock trailers, for example, have a slam lock mechanism on the door so someone loading an animal doesn’t have to hold it back while throwing the lock into place.

All trailers are rattle-free.

“Especially when you are transporting livestock, you don’t want rattle,” he said.

Last modified Sept. 1, 2021