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Elite Trailers
building great trailers that can handle what you throw at them!
For those in the livestock business, Elite Trailers is
well known for high quality horse and livestock trailers. Celebrating their 20th year, Elite Trailers owners, Wayne Purser
and Robert Walters, goal remains the same: to build the best
aluminum trailers for people who use them hard everyday.
From Elite’s beginnings in 1994, Robert and Wayne’s
focus always been on the product. Both have a long history in the industry and this experience shows in the trailer.
In building the company, both owners worked tirelessly in
building the company with the best of materials and processes. Wayne says, “Materials used and the processes that have
been put in place are important, the entire staff knows that
the finished product is our biggest marketing program. We
are not the least expensive trailer and we understand that
people have choices. Robert and I made the decision in the
beginning that we wanted to build the best trailer available
and to do this we had to have the best employees.”
From a very simple beginning, growth for Elite has
been consistent. Elite Trailers started with eight employees
in one small building in Oklahoma City,. Robert says, “There
was a lot of sweat in the early days, starting a business is not
easy. There were a lot of sleepless nights. We weren’t really
worrying about the success of the business, but we had the
plan to be the best and every trailer needed to show it.” Of
the original employees, several still remain. One of those is
Purchasing Manager, Robert O’Connor. Robert says, “To
watch this company from it’s beginning till now, lots of things
have changed, but one thing I know is that the trailer has only
got better. Changes are necessary, but not at the expense of
safety and usability.” He added, “It’s important that we stick to
our roots and have strong relationships with our vendors that
share our same ideals.” Another original employee, Derek
Chesser, is in the Parts Department. Derek said, “Elite Trailers has grown like we had hoped in the beginning, building
great trailers that can handle what you throw at them. With
all my years in building trailers and now making it to the
parts and service side of our business, I get to talk to a lot of
satisfied Elite owners. I get to talk to them about the trailers
and find out first hand how we did!”
The years of experience that the employees of Elite
Trailers has is a huge asset. Each department is filled with
quality and experienced employees. The Engineering Department has seven employees, of which, Larry O’Pecko
and Steve Lucas have spent over sixty years in the design of
aluminum trailers. The Parts, Service and Warranty Department, led by Mike Peters, has nearly 40 years of experience
at Elite amongst it’s two employees. The Sales Department’s
has nearly 60 years amongst it’s three employees and the
two members of Purchasing have over 30 years. Elite’s CFO,
Clyde Walters, who started with Elite Trailers in 2002 had to
say, “The experience that Elite Trailers has in it’s employees is
second to no one. Experience helps in the good times, and is
vital in not so good times. Nearly half of our employees that
have been with us at least seven years. It means so much with
the everyday needs and the ability to train the future employees of our company in the way we desire.”
Managing this building machine in the plant is
James Mix. A 17 year veteran at Elite, he has seen significant
change to trailers in his time. James said, “Customers want
bigger and more elaborate trailers. Most builder’s can build
a 20’ trailer, were we separate ourselves is that we have the
experience and know how to be very successful in building
today’s bigger structures. We have invested in the engineering, equipment, tooling and fixtures that allow us to build
with great quality. We have customers that have put millions
of miles on our trailers. It all start with the basics; build it
correctly the first time.” James is backed up by Quality Control Manager, Lonnie Daniels who is in his 19th year at Elite.
Lonnie said, “When a customer is trying to distinguish the
differences in brands of trailers, look first at structure. The
rear frame, side structure, top and bottom rails and assembly of the nose are critical. Without those elements being
correct, the components inside can be affected on their usability. Someone told me once that they all look the same to
him, while that may be true to some point, differences are
in the size and thickness of the material. That’s what makes
the difference in a trailer lasting longer without problems.”
James added, “Once you get past structure, this allows us to
be successful in building a large variety of trailers. When
your structure is built correctly for the type of trailer, it allows
for success in the components such as side ramps and slide outs.
It allows components like stock gates and horse dividers to
operate as designed, and it makes the little things work better. When built incorrectly, those components don’t work
correctly making customers unhappy.”
Elite Trailer Dealers are an important piece to the
success of Elite Trailers. David Dill, the Sales Manager at
Elite says, “We know the hard work that we put into each
trailer, but we also know that dealers representing our trailer
are a very important part to our success. Our dealers understand our trailer and its benefits. We are fortunate to have an
outstanding dealer group.” Elite’s dealer network stretches
across the United States and Canada.
By 2002, Elite Trailers was building trailers, utilizing
multiple buildings, including the original plant. Based on
the enhanced need for more product, Elite opened it’s state of
the art, manufacturing facility in 2004. Designed for the
building of custom aluminum trailers, the facility has over
250,000 square feet of manufacturing and service under roof.
Along with the new facility, investments were made in computerized tooling allowing for accurate measurements, tighter fits and an overall better quality product.
What about the future of Elite Trailers? When asked
on what’s new at Elite Trailers, Wayne Purser said, “Over the
last few years, we have ventured into a few new items that we
plan to put more resources toward, ground load semi trailers,
motorsports and specialty type trailers are a few.” He added,
“Our plans haven’t changed since day one, we are going to continue to build the best trailer available!”