‘What We Do Really Does Matter’: Felling Trailers’ Brenda Jennissen on the Excitement and Impact Surrounding AEM’s Manufacturing Express



Felling TrailersThe AEM Manufacturing Express will hit the road July 1 as part of an unprecedented initiative by the association to tell the story of the U.S. equipment manufacturing industry and celebrate the 2.3 million men and women who help build, power, and feed our world.

The tour is set to visit more than 20 states, with stops planned at more than 80 equipment manufacturers in communities across the Midwest, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic. One stop will take place at AEM member company Felling Trailers in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, on July 16. In preparation for the tour launch and AEM’s visit to Felling Trailers’ headquarters, Brenda Jennissen, the company’s co-owner and president/CEO, sat down with AEM to discuss her excitement regarding the tour, what she hopes its impact will be, and more.

AEM: What are you thinking about as the tour approaches and the Manufacturing Express is about to get underway?

Jennissen: With Felling Trailers being a second-generation company that’s celebrating 50 years, it’s not lost on me that my parents purchased a small welding shop in 1974 and now, a half-century later, my sister and I, along with our spouses and our team, have grown our company to what it is today. And so, this tour serves as a uniquely valuable opportunity for me to reflect on the people who have made that happen and where we want to take things over the next half-century. 

AEM: Why do you feel it's so important for Felling Trailers to participate in a one-of-a-kind opportunity like the AEM Manufacturing Express?

Jennissen: For us, I think it’s critically important to show our team members what a key role they play in supporting the equipment manufacturing industry. It’s all too easy for anyone to ask themselves, “Does what I do really matter?” and “Am I making an impact?” Some people really want to know they are making an impact, while it’s not top-of-mind for others. However, for me and our leadership team at Felling Trailers, we really wouldn’t be the successful company we are today without every single one of our team members. Each and every one plays such a vital role in making our products and meeting the ever-evolving needs of our customers. Ultimately, I feel like the Manufacturing Express will serve as a valuable catalyst for highlighting the place of AEM members in equipment manufacturing and contributing to the success of America. Because what we do really does matter.

AEM: What are you and your colleagues at Felling Trailers most excited about as you look ahead to your Manufacturing Express event in July?

Jennissen: We’re thrilled to welcome the AEM Manufacturing Express to Minnesota next month. We’re planning on having food catered in, providing games and door prizes, as well as likely hosting some state and U.S. representatives here. Our hope is to be able to give them opportunities to take tours of our facilities in Sauk Centre and Litchfield, as well as our new weld training center and blast & powder coat paint facility. So, not only will they be afforded a chance to mingle with team members, but they will get to experience some things we want to highlight. We’re really looking forward to it.

AEM: What are you and your fellow employees most excited about as you look ahead to your stop on the Manufacturing Express?

Jennissen: 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of our company. So, the Manufacturing Express is timed perfectly with that celebration this year, and our event with AEM is just a terrific opportunity to showcase what we do at Felling Trailers to a wider audience than ever before.

AEM: What do you feel the lasting impact will be of the Manufacturing Express tour and Felling Trailers’ involvement in it?

Jennissen: I would hope the legacy of this initiative would be its ability to tell the story of Felling Trailers and our industry as a whole, especially to young people. We’ve always believed in the importance of sharing the incredible career opportunities available to them. It’s just so worthwhile to expose young people to what they can seek out career-wise. Our team members know what we do, but it’s also crucial to illuminate the topic of workforce and the need for us to expose young people to and secure opportunities and connections for skilled tradespeople of tomorrow.

We also want people to know the important work AEM does on behalf of our industry, as well as what all our members do to support American manufacturing and provide quality products for our customers.

AEM: Why do you feel it’s so important for AEM and its members to work together on an initiative like this one?

Jennissen: I feel there are so many things that make America the great country it is, and so often there is a vocal minority that suppresses that fact. What we accomplish every day in the United States is amazing, and I really hope the tour serves as a reminder to people about the impact of manufacturing on our great country. We can agree to disagree on so many things happening today – both inside and outside of America – but at the end of the day, our industry does so much for our Nation. So, it’s exciting that AEM has organized this tour to showcase exactly what’s taking place.

To learn more about the AEM Manufacturing Express and to see a full list of its scheduled stops, visit manufacturingexpress.org

For more AEM member perspectives, subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor.   

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