131-B West Haynes Street | Sandersville, GA 31082 | P: 478-552-3288 | F: 478-552-1449 | chamber@washingtoncountyga.com

Steve West, American Railcar Industries

Steve West

It was a big step in 1993 when American Railcar Industries decided to locate a railcar repair operation here in Tennille in Washington County. As one of the nation’s largest suppliers of railcars, ARI has a reputation for sterling quality, and the company’s comprehensive railcar repair service demands meticulous effort and a range of skills to perform functions including full-service welding and mechanical repairs of tanks, covered hoppers and pressure differential hoppers; full exterior painting and interior lining service; and repair and requalification of cars.

Steve West, Plant Manager in charge of the Tennille operation, recalls:

Only two experienced ARI employees made the move for the startup, and I was one of them. The rest of our team came from here in the County:  Every Master Repairman, QA & NDT Technician, Supervisor and Foreman at this facility was hired and promoted from this group of local Washington County employees.

The results speak for themselves. The plant was originally planned as a 15- to 20-person facility, but today our workforce stands at 70 and growing. And it isn’t just size, it’s quality that sets us apart.  While ARI has similar facilities all across the U.S. and Canada, our operation here in Tennille has led the company in productivity numbers, revenues and efficiencies unmatched by any other tank repair location.
    
Our safety record is also unmatched. Our OSHA incident rate for 2012, 2013, and 2014 is exactly zero. In the past seven years, we’d had zero lost time accidents. Our employees know we work as a team, and that looking out for each other’s safety is very important, as is training new employees to a “Safety First” mentality.

As we have grown and added to our facilities we’ve also enjoyed an unparalleled ease of doing business. So much so that ARI’s Director of Operations frequently holds up the “Tennille Plant Story” as a model of how well a community can work with a start-up operation to help assure success.

We owe ARI’s success here in large part to this community. Good people. Good “small town” work ethics. Good cooperation and assistance from the community. And it’s a good place to raise a family. I’m proud to have moved my family to Washington County and made this my home.


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