Yihua Gong, Chairman of Jianghuaiyingtian, left, and Sean Li, President and COO of Tornado China. (Contributed photo)

Yihua Gong, Chairman of Jianghuaiyingtian, left, and Sean Li, President and COO of Tornado China. (Contributed photo)

Stettler hydrovac plant brings safe excavating to China

Tornado Global Hydrovacs signs five-year international contract

By Emily Jaycox For the Independent

Two members of the Stettler business community recently made a trip to the City of Chuzhou, in the Anhui Province of China, to attend a signing ceremony for a five-year manufacturing contract.

Mike Lloyd, plant manager, and Brandon Comeau, fabrication manager, were present at the ceremony Oct. 23, representing the Stettler location of Tornado Global Hydrovacs Ltd.

“The new Chinese line is just a big morale boost,” said Lloyd, who has been with Tornado for 13 years.

The Stettler plant is like a family, and creating a safe-digging market in China has been an exciting venture for all involved, he says.

Tornado Hydrovac trucks will be the first hydrovac excavator in the country, providing a safe way to excavate around underground utilities.

Tornado China, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tornado Global Hydrovacs, entered into the agreement with Jianghuai Yangtian Automobile Co. to manufacture the line of Tornado hydrovac trucks.

Lloyd went to China to meet with his Chinese counterpart, to help facilitate the plant opening there, and Comeau has made several trips to set up quality control measures, says Lloyd.

For the Stettler plant, the signing of this contract is the culmination of two-and-a-half years of work.

The Stettler plant made all the prototypes of the hydrovac trucks that will now be manufactured in China, customizing them to meet all Chinese regulatory requirements for sale and operation in China.

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The Stetler plant hired about 10 new staff in the past two years to handle the extra workload.

With the recession ending, those staff members have been retained and are now working on new projects.

As market research develops in China, the Stettler plant will continue to make prototypes to meet the needs of that market.

It is part of the Chinese culture to hold signing ceremonies when an international contract is signed, according to Lloyd.

“It’s a big deal to them,” said Lloyd, adding that China wants to portray to their country, and the world, that they welcome international business.

“They want to show respect to visitors.”

The Chinese team members were very friendly and accommodating and willing to answer questions, says Lloyd.

Speeches were given by company executives, as well as local Chinese government authorities, including Chuzhou’s mayor and the Chairman of Local Congress.

There was a bit of a language barrier, as some of the ceremony was in Chinese, but there was an interpreter and some of the staff speak English.

China hasn’t been known for worker safety but the current government wants to promote safe work environments, says Lloyd.

“The culture is evolving fast.”

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lisa.joy@stettlerindependent.com