Expansion project to take about one year
By Bert Lehman
A week after announcing it will be expanding its facility, Marion Body Works held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday, Aug. 24.
In addition to local officials, the ceremony was attended by state Rep. Kevin Petersen, state Sen. Luther Olsen. U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.
Rick Bickert, president of Consolidated Construction, said he was honored to be part of the expansion project and that the start of a project is an exciting time.
“You get out on a site and it’s fresh and new, and you are about to start on an endeavor,” Bickert said.
In speaking with representatives of Marion Body Works, Bickert said, “I could sense that the group here was very energized and very engaged.”
“Marion [Body Works] didn’t necessarily have to do this, but they took a bold step which says a heck of a lot about the people who work here and the future of this company,” Bickert said.
Nancy Ignacio, co-owner and a board member of Marion Body Works, didn’t waste time explaining how important the expansion project is.
“This is really a big deal. It’s a big deal for us, our employees, and the city of Marion,” Ignacio said.
She gave a brief history of the company.
She said the company started in 1905 as a blacksmith shop. Her parents bought the company in 1980. Since 1980, employment at the company has almost quadrupled, while annual sales have gone from $6 million to more than $50 million.
“How proud I am of my dad, who had the vision and talent to see the potential,” Ignacio said. “He took a big risk and he fulfilled his dream of owning a company and becoming an entrepreneur.”
In 2003, Curt Ignacio, Nancy’s husband, and Jim Simpson, Nancy’s brother, took over the business, Nancy said.
Simpson was killed in a car accident in 2012.
“But as I look around the team of great folks here at Marion [Body Works] stepped right up to help Curt and keep the ship afloat. And to them, I’m truly grateful,” Nancy Ignacio said.
She added that the expansion will help the company plan for the future.
“We’ve experienced unprecedented growth,” she said. “Our current facility is nearly full to capacity with both inventory and resources, which challenged us to keep up with demand. Coming next summer, this new space will give our employees the space they need to truly innovate and to continue giving our customers and vendors the products and services they’ve come to expect from Marion Body Works.”
Marion Body Works CEO Curt Ignacio said the expansion project is the largest in the company’s 110 year history.
“This project will allow us to better serve the expanding needs of customers, both, existing and new, located across the country and around the world,” Curt Ignacio said.
He said the expansion project will almost triple the office space at the company. One of the highlights of the shop expansion is the addition of an inspection bay. No longer will vehicles have to be inspected on the shop floor.
“The new facility will allow us to compete for business with bigger customers and larger areas,” Curt Ignacio said.
Co-owner Lynne Simpson also addressed those in attendance.
“Marion Body Works milestones are bittersweet for me because Jim [Simpson] isn’t here, but as I know Jim would be really happy for this day, I am too,” Simpson said. “I’m grateful for the dedicated people at Marion Body Works who continue to carry out his life’s work every single day. This ambitious building project will help Marion grow, provide jobs, and support families in this beautiful part of Wisconsin.”