With the increased demand for faster internet/broadband connectivity, a need to harden North America’s electric power infrastructure (much of it going underground) and a federal funding push to improve infrastructure in the United States, Ditch Witch is growing in Perry, Oklahoma to help meet the demands of contractors doing the work.
At the end of 2022, The Toro Company, announced the plans to expand in Perry with the construction of a new 200,000-sq-ft manufacturing facility and the addition of approximately 100 new jobs in the rural community.
“ We are so excited about this expansion. It shows on many levels our commitment to helping with the world’s underground infrastructure needs,” says Kevin Smith, general manager and president of Ditch Witch. “What we do matters.”
To get a better understanding of why this expansion is taking place now – and more importantly why Ditch Witch chose to grow in Perry – we invited Smith to answer a few questions for Trenchless Technology’s readers.
Why is there a need for a new facility?
Smith: Simply put – we’re growing. Broadband, electrical and broader utility installations are driving demand for underground construction equipment. The timing of this investment from our parent company, The Toro Company, couldn’t have come at a better time. We’ve already started seeing operations ramping up in response to the billions of dollars coming into our industries from the unprecedented Infrastructure funding around the world. That work will continue far into the future and this added manufacturing space will be essential for us to keep up with those demands for years to come.
What will be manufactured in the new facility?
Smith: Like most manufacturing facilities, space will be used as efficiently as possible. For Ditch Witch, the additional space provided by this expansion project will primarily be used for a new paint line system. There are several aspects of our operations that will be housed in the new facility, but the new finishing system will be the most prominent. The expansion will also allow us to increase our manufacturing capabilities within our current facility, as space will be available once the old paint line moves out. We’ll be able to build more Ditch Witch orange machines than ever before.
When will construction take place?
Smith: Construction has already started. This will be about a two-year project, and we’re just a couple months into the work. It is exciting to see this happening on our campus as we all pull into work every day. To be able to watch the progress every step of the way will be a constant reminder to all of us in Perry, Oklahoma, that we’ll be here a long time.
Why is it important to build in Perry vs. elsewhere?
Smith: Being part of the Perry community is, and has been, a priority for Ditch Witch. Our founder, Ed Malzahn, invented the world’s first service line trencher in 1949, right here in Perry, Oklahoma. He had a special place in his heart for this community and was passionate about supporting all things Perry. We’ve continued that sentiment since his passing and this investment into our community from The Toro Company shows everyone around here that Perry is important to our business. The relationship between Ditch Witch and Perry, Oklahoma, is one that is of utmost importance to us and it will continue far into the future.