Chillicothe is a quiet town in southern Ohio. It has a stretch of road that’s lined with bright, shiny new Class 8 Kenworth trucks. They are mostly T680 tractors with some T880s or W990s scattered around. The half-million-square-foot Kenworth Chillicothe Truck Assembly plant is sprawled across the rural landscape. They are almost complete when they roll off the line. However, there are rarely two trucks or fleets exactly the same. Fontaine Modification is a few hundred yards to the north.
Fontaine’s Vice President of Business Development Don Philyaw OHIO TRUCK SALES explained that “the niche we fill” is anything the customer requires and the OEM doesn’t provide. He was on site in February.
This would usually mean smaller HVAC and power components, which could slow down OEM production.
Jeff Kolner, Fontaine’s director-Paccar operations, stated that Fontaine does a lot of upfitting. This includes things like installing cameras and auxiliary power units to collision avoidance system. We also make a lot of wet kit, blowers, and pumps for various applications, including oil, gas, and refuse.
Kolner stood beside a Kenworth T800 Day Cab and noted that the facility had just installed an additional corrosion protection and a camera system.
You can also alter the cab by adding graphics or roll-off and hook-lift body bodies.
Kolner stated that “we are expanding into more highly-engineered solutions in the next months.” We offer dual steering solutions for the K370 Chillicothe Truck, primarily for street sweeper/street striper applications.
Fontaine’s expertise means that fleets may sometimes send trucks from Ohio to be worked on.
Chillicothe Truck Culture
Kolner stated, “The thing that I love about this is our diverse workforce as far as capabilities and abilities.”
Philyaw said that several ProBuilt technicians joined Fontaine Modification after the facility was sold in 2019. This was “really lucky” as they were “highly-trained.”
Philyaw stated that these people are able to install lift axles on the rear or electronics onboard the truck’s cab. They get a wide range of experience while they’re here, and we ensure they stay by paying them a competitive salary and treating them right.
He also pointed out that the Kenworth plant opened in 1974 and has produced generations of Chillicothe Truck lovers. This is a huge benefit for recruiting and keeping new technicians.