In 2008, Reyco Granning began working on a new suspension system that would allow firetrucks to make a 55-degree turn. The manufacturing innovation greatly improved maneuverability and shaved down response times.
SBJ: How does the ResponseMaster independent front suspension increase the maneuverability of a firetruck?
Amanda Crisler (marketing manager): We have a team of engineers who have spent thousands of hours going through our legacy suspensions. We started doing testing to see what we could do to differentiate ourselves. We were able to reengineer parts of the suspension to make the turning radius just that much more tight. So it makes it easier for a firetruck to maneuver, especially in cityscapes and rural areas where there are hard turns. That extra 5 degrees that our engineering department was able to get with the suspension sometimes keeps a truck from having to go a mile out of its way.
SBJ: Why do you choose to keep manufacturing in the Ozarks?
Crisler: Reyco Granning started as Reyco in Springfield, I think in the old Zenith building. We have been servicing and serving the transportation industry since the beginning. We started in railroads, then heavy vehicles. We added different things and moved out to Mount Vernon. That plant has served us well. We have extra acreage we can grow on when the time comes. Mount Vernon is a great community. We participate in the parades and in Apple Butter Makin’ Days. We think it’s important to be a part of this community because the Ozarks has served us so well. We’re coming up on a centennial. If you truly want a career path in this industry, we can provide that. We have employees who have been with us 20-plus years. We really believe in promoting from within and those career paths. Some of our executives started in the plant. We focus on our people. We want to build those lifelong employees.
SBJ: Who are your customers? What are your distribution channels?
Crisler: We are a national company and work with municipalities and fire areas all over, from single-unit rural people, medium- or heavy-duty truck, but not necessarily with the ResponseMaster. We can serve any size municipality. We sell directly to firetruck manufacturers if specified. You can spec us in whatever weight range you desire for your specific application. If you have the need later on, it can be retrofitted.
SBJ: Are there any further innovations on the horizon?
Crisler: We are working toward more solutions that support electric vehicles because that is becoming a bigger and bigger thing. We are working toward more (electric vehicle) solutions in our suspensions so we can be a player in that market.
Once a week this time of year, roughly 150 men trade business suits and work attire for baseball uniforms – complete from caps to cleats – for the Grip N Rip Baseball league.