Trucks built for firefighters, by firefighters
By JONATHAN WISE | Wynn Apparatus
Wynn Southeast Apparatus is a Kentucky-based manufacturer of custom fire and emergency apparatus that is dedicated to a “service first” approach when building new or refurbishing existing apparatuses. All of the employees pride themselves on their topnotch fabricating, assembly and finishing of each five-star quality apparatus.
Wynn Southeast Apparatus was founded nearly 30 years ago by Charles Wynn. He started the company by selling miscellaneous used fire equipment and expanded his operations to include buying and selling used fire trucks. About 13 years ago, Wynn began manufacturing custom built fire apparatuses.
Jonathan Wise and Kevin Williams purchased the company in April 2012. The two have been stationed in the fire service industry their whole lives. Kevin, a retired firefighter, was employed by Wynn in sales and Jonathan, a career firefighter, had a small company performing service work on emergency vehicles just prior to the purchase. When approached with the opportunity to operate a business such as this, it seemed like a perfect fit.
Today, Wynn Southeast Apparatus is set apart from the competition by its ability to build one of the most heavy-duty trucks on the market. Wynn’s construction, remount and refurbishment process is much more competitive than those of most other companies, while its products are built for and by those in the fire service industry. All of the company’s employees are or have been involved in emergency services with volunteer or career departments. All of its custom trucks are built for firefighters, by firefighters.
New product lines range from fire pumpers to fire tankers, rescue trucks to various wild land firefighting vehicles and include special operations trailers. It also offers refurbishment and retrofitting to any existing apparatus. There is a full service maintenance shop, graphics department and body shop on site.
Wynn Southeast Apparatus has the capability to offer any apparatus it manufactures on a commercial chassis, including International, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Ford, Chevrolet and Freightliner, or on a custom fire truck chassis, including Spartan or HME. All of the current bodies that it builds have been in production for at least 10 years.
The newest service offered is the refurbishment and remounting of ambulances. Each vehicle that is received is handled and inspected on an individual basis, which allows for more personal service and customization to meet the customer’s needs. After inspection, the vehicle gets disassembled and is moved into the body shop for body work and painting. After painting, it’s moved to the fabrication shop to be remounted onto a new chassis and then reassembled with new interior and electronics. Upon completion of the reassembly, the custom graphics package chosen by the customer is applied. The final production step includes a test drive, cleaning, detailing and a final inspection prior to pick-up or delivery. Warranty packages are provided for each remount, refurbishment or new apparatus to guarantee the lifespan of the product.
While the global financial crisis posed a major challenge for most industries, Wynn Southeast Apparatus managed to avoid most of the effects because of continued focus on delivering five-star quality products and service. Compared to other companies in the same industry, being a smaller company has allowed them to maintain the highest level of quality and establish a personal relationship with its customers. Each of the departments that Wynn Southeast works with is very unique. They try to assist them when purchasing a new apparatus to specify and build what truly meets their needs. Customers are never pressured to upgrade or purchase expensive options just to drive up the cost. Company owners Jonathan and Kevin want them to take home a vehicle that will serve all aspects of their mission and provide years of flawless service all at an affordable price.
The company looks toward the future by focusing on new ideas and modifications to their existing line of apparatuses. One of the new products they’re looking to add in the not-too-distant future is an ambulance body, and they are always looking for input from those on the fire line for new ideas or ways to improve existing designs.
Long term, Jonathan and Kevin want to grow the business, but not grow it too large — they never want to lose the personal level of service they maintain with their customers. Every truck Wynn Southeast Apparatus builds is custom, and each is built just one at a time. Customers always receive their apparatus exactly the way they want it, each and every time.