Curbtender, Inc., a manufacturer of refuse collection vehicles, announced the start of manufacturing operations at its new factory in Gothenburg, Nebraska. The factory’s first unit built was a Quantum rear loader for a customer in Toronto, Canada. The milestone was achieved less than 120 days after the facility began a retrofit process to accommodate Curbtender’s operation.
Prior to being acquired by Curbtender, the 99,900 square foot facility had been home to Baldwin Filter, a subsidiary of Parker-Hannifin. Baldwin closed its Gothenburg operation in October 2018 when it moved production into its plant in nearby Kearney.
Key members of the community were invited to tour the facility and see the first truck come off the new production line. “We wanted to share this moment with the people who were so influential in making Curbtender Nebraska become a reality,” company President Mark Watje stated.
“We originally approached communities in Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota, and Tennessee to evaluate opportunities for our expansion. But Gothenburg came to us. That’s symbolic of the way they approach partnerships.”
Curbtender will produce all its rear loading refuse trucks and select automated side loaders in its Nebraska factory. The company’s existing operation in Iowa will continue producing front loading, side loading, and automated side loading refuse trucks. Watje explained,
“With our expansion in Nebraska we have doubled our footprint but nearly tripled our output capacity. Having two locations allows us to establish several product-specific assembly lines and therefore create efficiencies we’ve never before seen.”
Watje and his family moved to Nebraska in late 2019 to launch and oversee the new location. Meanwhile, company CEO Kevin Watje remains at the factory in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The father-son duo has worked together in the waste industry since 2009.
Curbtender Inc. was formed in 2017 when the Watje family and a group of investors purchased the business of Wayne Engineering, a company with roots dating back more than 50 years. The name “Curbtender” was formerly the moniker used for the company’s flagship model, an automated side loader which pioneered modern waste collection in the 1970s. After purchasing the business of Wayne Engineering, the decision to use “Curbtender” as the company name was natural. All the company’s products “tend to the curb” as they keep streets and communities clean.