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Klein Building Tanks, Careers

July 28, 2008

By Richard Nelson, Jacksonville Daily Progress, Texas

Jul. 27–Klein Products Inc. is a worldwide manufacturer of water-distributing equipment. Its variety of products can be found as close as Neches and as far away as Iraq.

That international market has kept the company busy here in Jacksonville — so busy it has worked with the Jacksonville Economic Development Corp. to create an on-the-job welding-training program to certify new employees or to give current employees a chance to further their careers.

“Unemployment is so low in East Texas right now. Our objective is to teach people a skill set — to give them the ability to move up,” said Michael Shepperd, Klein plant manager in Jacksonville.

Following the five-week paid-training program, the workers will test and have the opportunity to jump to a much higher wage.

“We’ve started with guys with some welding experience and some who’ve never seen a welding machine; they’ve done well, too,” said Robbie Barber, Klein heavy fabrication supervisor.

The next program begins Aug. 12, and deadline to be considered for employment is Aug. 8. For more information, call 903-589-4546.

Klein employees have the chance to be a part of building water tanks, water trucks, water pulls, water wagons, portable water towers, water tank trailers, water pumps, hurricane pumps, water control valves, and all the related parts components and accessories.

“We’re really busy right now,” Shepperd said, explaining they have orders for about 250 stainless steel, 3,000 gallon capacity tanks for the U.S. government to use in Iraq to haul potable water, diesel and gasoline. Shepperd said the Jacksonville facility produces about six tanks a week and already has built about 600.

Klein is adding a third tank line to its production facility so more of the government tanks can be produced. Shepperd also said he’d like to begin producing some of those tanks during a second shift — hence the continued need for qualified welders and other workers.

“There’s lots of exciting things going on,” Shepperd said. In addition to Klein tanks going to Iraq, they also are shipped to South America, Canada, across Texas and other states, including Alaska.

Some of the company’s largest tanks, 20,000- to 30,000-gallon capacity tanks, are used in open pit mines to keep the dust settled. One such tank truck being made ready for shipping Friday was too big for Arkansas to allow it access, so it will have to be transported around that state to its final destination.

Klein, which was founded in 1957 in California, opened its Jacksonville site in 1969. Klein moved to its facility on Highway 79 in 1996.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Jacksonville Daily Progress, Texas

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