Le Mars, Iowa may be known for it’s ice cream, but it also has another company that’s producing a tool crucial to Midwest living.
SmithCo produces side dump trailers, not only sold to folks in Siouxland, but all over the world.
SmithCo Manufacturing, stationed out of Le Mars, started in 1994 and is North America’s largest manufacturer of side dump trailers.
They can produce over 800 trailers a year.
Operations Manager Scott Lovell said, “We’re known in the industry, not only in the technology and the production side, but also in the forward thinking of new ideas and new technologies brought into the product.”
Not only do they pride themselves on quality and meeting the unique needs of its customers throughout Siouxland, Lovell says the possibilities that exist within the trades are endless.
That is what he told a group of high school students who came to tour the facility.
“The four year degrees are great,” said Lovell, “but they’re not the only way to make a living.. and how that interacts with not only the manufacturing here at SmithCo but in other places, especially in western Iowa because there is a lot of great manufacturing that occurs here.”
It usually takes about 3 weeks to produce one of these trailers from scratch.
Lovell says the trailer starts with the design from engineering and then flows through the plant during production.
Lovell says their employees take a lot of pride in what they do, especially the welding of the trailers.
Welding is considered a science, but there’s an art to it too.
Not only do they make sure their product works the best– they make sure it looks the best too.
“Our employees have been here a long time, many of them 15, 16, 17 years and that trailer that we produced may say ‘SmithCo ‘ on the side but hey’ll tell everyone, ‘that’s my trailer, I built that’ and the our motto is: “The pride of our people build the strength in our trailers” and that’s no lie,” said Lovell.
Lovell says many may think not much goes on in Iowa, but if you look around, you’ll find success stories like SmithCo with a product that Siouxland can claim.
“It’s nice to be able to have that kind of product that’s built here and that invest in the people that work for us and in turn, years down the road when this building is still here for the next generations that come along, so they have the opportunity to have a career here as well.”
SmithCo’s trailers are sold all over the world, with many sold in Canada and some even as far as Peru and the Middle East.”
Last year SmithCo created a 100-ton unit, the largest side dump trailer available on the market.