DIXON – Keeping waste flowing down the pipe translated to raises across the board for employees at Sewer Equipment Co. of America, and more plans for growth are in the works.
The 76-year-old business moved from Chadwick to Dixon in 2012 into the former Johnson Controls facility at 1590 Dutch Road, and has grown steadily during the past decade, said John Wichmann, executive vice president of operations.
Several years ago, the company’s employee headcount was 45; that number now is about 130.
“We’re currently in hiring mode as we speak looking to add about 20 people,” Wichmann said.
The business is in the name – it produces a variety of sewer and drain-cleaning equipment, ranging from city-grade infrastructure to household pipes. It started in 1941 with a drain snake, a simple hand crank attached to a bendable spring line.
“It was the seed that prompted Sewer Equipment Co., and we’ve progressively gotten bigger and bigger,” he said.
All employees recently received a raise, which comes to an extra $150,000 a year shared among all workers.
“They are the key to our success; we come up with ideas and set the direction, but we need people to implement that direction,” Wichmann said.
For welder Jordan McCleary, who started working at the company 3 years ago, coming to work feels like working in his garage – if his garage was 122,000 square feet and had 30-foot-high ceilings.
“They take really good care of us,” the 33-year-old from Milledgeville said. “They make you feel like you’re at home, like you belong, and it’s a good environment.”
Further growth plans are to add a second shift next year, and in general, “continue to grow to be a good place to work and provide products our customers need,” Wichmann said.
And that need isn’t going to go away any time soon.
Sewer Equipment is the parent company of Mongoose Jetters and Ramvac Hydro Excavators and offers an array of high-pressure, high-volume sewer jetters mounted to trailers and trucks as well as combination sewer cleaners, rodders, bucket machines and easement machines.
Part of the company’s success has come from being able to take its products and expertise and apply them to different markets.
That includes hydro-excavation equipment, which basically digs by using high-pressure water and a vacuum, and not having to worry about cutting into a gas line or fiber optic cable.
When they moved in 5 years ago after outgrowing their 40,000-square-foot facility, they took up about two-thirds of the space. Now they’ve grown to fill the lot, Wichmann said.
“The city of Dixon is very business friendly, and we’re a good neighbor in return.”