On Wednesday morning, Sutphen Corporation held an official groundbreaking celebration at its new project site, 935 S. Edgewood Ave., Urbana.
The new facility will be 185,000 square feet, built on 55 acres of former farm land — which will provide plenty of room for future expansions. This new facility will combine three Urbana-area operations into one location while retaining 160 jobs and adding an additional 20 to 25 jobs in Champaign County. The new facility will be built by Bruns General Contracting. Sutphen hopes to have the project completed by December 2022.
Sutphen, founded in 1890, is the nation’s largest family-owned and operated fire apparatus manufacturer.
“This new facility will provide an incredible opportunity for our family’s business and for the city of Urbana to grow together,” said Sutphen Corporation President Drew Sutphen, a fourth-generation family member. “For the last 131 years, our family business has worked to build the safest, most reliable fire apparatus in the world. This step will help ensure that our family continues doing the same for the next 131 years.
“This has been our passion for over the last year and a half when we started this project,” Sutphen continued. “I want to thank everyone for coming. Urbana and Champaign County, the community and city officials have really made it happen.”
Other family members also spoke at the ceremony.
“There are very few companies in the country and even the world that have made it into the fourth generations,” said Vice President Julie Phelps Sutphen. “It is about 2 percent or less. It happened by our father, grandfathers and great-grandfathers instilling in all of us a strong family value and work ethic. That has been important for us in the fourth generation to pass to the fifth.”
Local officials have helped shepherd the project along, including city officials.
“I am so excited. This has been a long time coming,” said Urbana Mayor Bill Bean. “I have to thank the Urbana School Board. It is so exciting to work with them on the growth of Urbana. They have done a lot of work with the Champaign Economic Partnership. With Sutphen coming here, along with our other manufacturing, that is our lifeblood. It is wonderful to have the manufacturers that we have.”
“Good things in life don’t just happen,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan. “If you want to accomplish things of meaning and significance that have real lasting value, it takes work, effort and sacrifice. Those are the qualities we celebrate today. This amazing family has been in operation since 1890 and that does not happen very often.”