Allmand Seeks 50 Employees as Product Demand Skyrockets
26 May 2021
When David Dooley had to decide between leading a plant in Georgia or Holdrege, the strong work ethic at Allmand and employees’ openness to change led him to choose Holdrege. After just seven weeks in the role, he knows he made the right choice.
Dooley, the new vice president and general manager of Allmand Bros., Inc. (Allmand), a division of Briggs & Stratton, is now leading the change at Allmand where a new product and increased demand for portable light towers, generators and heaters is creating an abundance of local job opportunities.
The Holdrege plant is seeking 50 employees to fill jobs ranging from full-time professional positions to manufacturing positions such as welders, painters and assemblers. Since January, Allmand has already hired more than 30 full-time hourly and salaried employees and 26 temporary employees.
“We are rebuilding this historic icon in the field of lighting solutions, and we need great team members to help us do so,” Dooley said.
Briggs & Stratton purchased Allmand from the local Allmand family in 2014. KPS Capital Partners purchased Briggs & Stratton in September 2020, and the new owner is bringing positive change to the local plant. Although Allmand is one of the smaller brands in the Briggs & Stratton portfolio, the support and commitment from Briggs & Stratton has been significant.
Allmand specializes in designing and manufacturing portable light towers, generators and heaters. Its new NLGR light tower is more efficient and will run for 360 hours before refueling is needed, compared to its predecessor of 160 hours.
“The new products we are launching are disruptive in the marketplace,” Dooley said. “They have the longest-in-class service and refueling intervals on our new NLGR line. They are energy-efficient, quiet, highly reliable, easy to operate and transport.”
This increased demand is good news for Allmand and for the future of Phelps County.
Dooley said Allmand currently has 136 employees and would like to grow to 186 as soon as possible. New employees are starting every day.
Dooley is originally from Scotland and has lived and worked in Brazil, China and Indonesia, and he now calls the United States home. With more than 32 years in manufacturing, he is highly experienced in creating positive change in manufacturing plants. He started work in Holdrege on March 15.
He is calling the local change Allmand 3.0. He said Allmand 1.0 was between 1938-2014 when the company was family-owned and operated. Allmand 2.0 was between 2014 and 2020 when it was owned by Briggs & Stratton (BASCO). Allmand 3.0 started in September 2020 when KPS Partners became the new owner.
“The transition from public to private ownership changes the focus and key metrics, while also creating velocity in decision making,” Dooley said.
Allmand 3.0 is about a “Commitment to Win,” he said. The focus is on creating a quality work environment and treating employees with respect, which in turn creates a quality product ensuring customer satisfaction. “Communication is fundamental, and direct and open dialogue is creating an environment of change, which employees are engaged in and enjoying,” he said.
The company’s focus has been on employee and community engagement. Small changes have included updating bathrooms, internal lighting, and paving roadways and the parking lot so employees don’t have to walk in mud. Larger changes include investments continuing the focus on employee safety and material handling improvements.
“We are launching new products at this location, and we need the infrastructure to support the increased volume of units projected,” Dooley said. “We are rebuilding the Allmand name and are investing in this location. We’re starting to get the plant back to ‘normal’ with monthly town hall meetings, popcorn Thursdays and recognizing our employees with celebration lunches.”
The company brings in a local physical therapist weekly to help employees work through any physical problems they may be experiencing. It also has a Developing Leaders Program for current and future potential leaders that includes sessions led by former Allmand Bros. owner Roger Allmand.
Dooley said the company is also committed to being a strong community partner. They are planning a flag-raising on May 27 to recognize Memorial Weekend and as a sign of respect to heroes past, present and future who served or will serve in the Armed Forces.
“As people pass our facility, we want them to think about what's needed to work here,” he said.
Briggs & Stratton recently made a conscious effort to rebuild the Allmand business by placing the leadership team on-site versus the old model of “managed from Milwaukee,” Dooley said. Briggs & Stratton is still headquartered in Milwaukee.
“The intent is to provide daily oversight, guidance and support,” he said. “The effect already has been amazing, and this recognition belongs with the awesome team we have here at Allmand. Our senior leadership team at Briggs & Stratton is fully behind the Holdrege location, demonstrated by providing significant funding for key safety, location improvements, and product development, which will result in a better working environment for our colleagues.”
Dooley said everyone has stepped up, been open to change and worked hard to create positive momentum to reestablish the company as the premier supplier of light towers, heaters and generators.
Allmand currently has openings for several salaried positions, including Financial Controller, Purchasing, Engineering, Demand Planning, and Supervisor. Those positions have competitive salaries, robust benefits packages and tuition reimbursement.
The company is also seeking to hire hourly employees in assembly, brake press, welding, painting and material handling. Prior experience or degrees aren’t necessary to apply.
“More important than prior skill is work ethic and the person's commitment to win,” he said. “We train all employees upon arrival starting first and foremost with safety.”
The company has a strong compensation package that includes medical insurance, tuition reimbursement, performance and attendance bonuses, and a generous 401K package.
Starting wages range from $16 to $18 with a $1,000 sign-on bonus.
“The low unemployment rate in the region has been a challenge to employee recruitment,” Dooley said. But, the company rewrote its recruitment strategy and is gaining traction.
The Phelps County Development Corporation is also doing what it can to help Allmand and other area employers find quality workers. PCDC recently provided Allmand and BD (which also is seeking to hire more than 50 employees) a customized labor market analysis across a four-state region. The summarized version of the comprehensive research identifies counties where there are sufficient numbers of similarly skilled workers and with a favorable pay differential.
PCDC also has launched a publicity campaign in these counties to elevate the top-of-mind awareness of Phelps County and Holdrege. The social media campaign highlights Phelps County’s quality of life, PCDC’s GO! HOME down payment assistance program and job openings.
For more information or to apply for jobs at Allmand, visit https://careers.basco.com/ or call Kim, at 308-995-3402 for guidance.
For more information or to apply for jobs at BD, visit https://jobs.bd.com/