Fleet Business Partner Profile: Springfield Welding & Manufacturing
By Rachel Darken, Administrative Assistant
Fleet partners with numerous vendors to help maintain our fleet of over 1,400 vehicles and pieces of equipment, and many have stepped up to the plate during this highly challenging COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we highlight Gary Acker and the team at Springfield Welding & Manufacturing Co., Inc., a local area business that has worked with Fleet since at least the year 2000.
Gary Acker founded the company in 1978 in Waunakee, Wisconsin and worked alone for the first two years before hiring his first employee. He began welding as a teenager on the family farm, which he now owns. First started as a portable welding business, the company has grown in both size and scope. Gary has a team of 24 employees, and Springfield Welding & Manufacturing now offers product development and manufacturing, metal fabrication, equipment repair and modification, sandblasting, and painting services. Their customers include farmers, municipalities, firefighters, truckers, construction companies, and more.
Over the years, the team at Springfield Welding has painted and repaired a variety of City of Madison equipment, including fire trucks, trailers, graders, refuse trucks, and sweepers. Right now, they are repairing the infeed roller on one of our grinders, replacing a worn out drum and bearing so that Streets can continue chipping away at large piles of wood waste.
I spoke with Gary recently to learn more about his story and Springfield Welding. Gary describes himself as a community guy, and we agree. Two years after moving to Waunakee, he joined the Waunakee Volunteer Fire Department, beginning a 40-year career that included 14 years serving as Chief before he retired in 2017. His son, Kurt Acker, followed his example in 2002 and still serves as an active volunteer firefighter today. Kurt also worked a stint here at Fleet as a technician from 2006-2014.
That passion for serving their community runs deep. One of the reasons Gary loves what he does at Springfield Welding is being able to meet a variety of people. “All my customers are now my friends,” he said.
The City experienced that spirit a few weeks ago when a Madison Fire Department engine required a welding repair. The team at Springfield Welding got the job done quickly. When Fleet Foreperson Mark Vander Waal called them to arrange payment, Springfield Welding told him it was on the house. The staff at Springfield Welding wanted to support Madison firefighters who are on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. “In this difficult time, when businesses are struggling to stay alive,” Mark said, “I find it amazing that they still think about the first responders and pay it forward.”
Gary’s response? “I just don’t want to hold anyone back.”
Fleet and the rest of #TeamCity rely on partners such as Springfield Welding during pandemics as well as in better times, and we hope that continues for years to come.