The company’s teams of metal fabricators, welders, painters and material handlers have been making things in Texas for more than 100 years. And it appears as though more of Beeville’s residents will make things for Ranch Hand in the future.
The company is holding a job fair on Monday, June 18, from 3 until 7 p.m., and as many as 67 South Texans could find themselves working for one of the state’s most successful manufacturing businesses soon.
The company wants to hire MIG welders, fabricators, material handlers, shipping and receiving personnel, forklift operators and CNC plasma operators.
“We’ve been very pleased with the workforce down there,” Ranch Hand General Manager Greg Chumchal said Monday.
The company started manufacturing its products in Boerne, but after Kaspar Companies bought the business in 2000, manufacturing was moved to Shiner.
In 2007, the company contacted Joe B. Montez, executive director of the Bee Development Authority, and he helped them lease a small part of the Dewayne Bowman Distributing Co. building at 1600 S. Washington St.
The authority then assisted the company in moving much of its welding operation to Beeville.
Today, about 27 employees operate the Beeville shop, most of whom are welders. They cut, bend, assemble and weld about 2,500 pieces of grille guards, push bars, front bumper replacements, skid plates, rear bumpers, winch plates, steps, headache racks and other equipment for pickups and larger commercial trucks each week.
Plant supervisor Alex Arratia said the Beeville operation ships out six to seven trucks of merchandise a week, sending the items to the Ranch Hand plant in Shiner, where they are sandblasted, painted and shipped out to dealers.
Arratia said all the welding done at the facility is accomplished by wire-fed, metal inert gas equipment.
As the operation here grew, Ranch Hand eventually bought the Bowman building, and it now has filled up the entire facility.
Chumchal said the company has purchased property south of its existing building with plans to raze the warehouse structure already on the property and replace it with a modern, 82,000-square-foot building.
Then Ranch Hand will move about $3 million worth of new equipment into the building and put its new employees to work there.
That will make up Phase One of the project, and Chumchal hopes that will be completed by the end of this year. A Phase Two could be implemented in the future if the company believes it is needed. That would include moving sandblasting and painting operations to Beeville.
Chumchal said Ranch Hand has become the country’s largest manufacturer of heavy duty truck accessories.
The company has dealers and distributors in 43 states, and it also has seven factory outlet stores in Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.
Ranch Hand wants employees who have a strong work ethic and a positive attitude, who are willing to learn and will be willing to help the company grow.
The company offers good wages and an incentive plan, overtime, medical, dental and vision insurance, a 401(k) plan and a family oriented environment.
One of the company’s owners, David Kaspar, said Chumchal was scheduled to report to the City Council on Tuesday night concerning the expansion plans.
Montez said one of the agenda items for his board’s meeting on Thursday evening at the Chase Field Industrial and Airport Complex calls for the BDA directors to consider a request from Ranch Hand for technical economic development assistance.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.