Senator Dick Durbin visited Marengo, Ill.-based UniCarriers Americas (UCA) on August 21. The senior senator from Illinois toured the manufacturer's facility, met with senior staff, and gave a companywide address followed by a town hall-style Q&A.
"What we see here at UniCarriers is not only a quality product that can compete on an international scale, but it's being produced right here in America by Americans who are up to the job and task of competition," Durbin said.
In his opening remarks, UniCarriers Americas President James J. Radous III highlighted the forklift industry's impact on U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). "Today, forklift manufacturing's annual economic impact is over $25 billion in GDP—and, I should point out that $3.5 billion of it comes from the state of Illinois," Radous said.
UniCarriers Americas caught Durbin's attention in June, when Radous visited legislators in Washington to discuss the critical importance of safety in the workplace, the impact forklifts have on commerce, and the creation of more Illinois jobs. Radous noted that the industrial truck industry in Illinois generates a larger economic footprint than lift truck businesses in any other state. He also pointed out that whereas many manufacturers are replacing workers with robots, UCA is bringing in more people to work and train alongside automation. The company has increased its automation capabilities by 50 percent while doubling its number of employees from approximately 300 to 600 over the past five years, he said.
Durbin said he views UniCarriers as a role model of a successful manufacturer in terms of job creation, education initiatives for its employees, and creating a large local and national economic footprint.
UniCarriers Americas, which designs, manufactures, and distributes a full line of industrial trucks for material handling applications, is a unit of the third-largest forklift manufacturer in the world.